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Report: Mora to be officially named Holmgren's successor with Seahawks

SEATTLE -- Jim Mora, long assumed to be the successor to Mike Holmgren in Seattle, reportedly will be announced Wednesday as the Seahawks official heir apparent.

Multiple reports Tuesday night said that the Seahawks will introduce the 46-year-old former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons as their coach for 2009 and beyond, following Holmgren's final season in Seattle.

Foxsports.com cited "league sources" in saying Mora will replace Holmgren. ESPN.com reported the same, adding that Mora has a new five-year contract with the Seahawks while citing "a source close to Mora."

The Seahawks confirmed late Tuesday they will hold a press conference at noon PT Wednesday. The team would not confirm what it was about.

A message left late Tuesday night with Mora's agent, Bob LaMonte, was not immediately returned.

Mora took the Falcons to the NFC championship in 2004, his first season in Atlanta. The Falcons fired him on New Year's Day, 2007. The Falcons went 26-22 under Mora.

Mora has been the heir apparent to the 60-year-old Holmgren ever since he was hired as Seattle's assistant head coach and defensive backs coach 12 months ago. Since then, the team has made a concerted effort to keep Mora away from speculation concerning head coaching jobs.

Yet Holmgren acknowledged late this past season, just before the Seahawks went to the playoffs for the fifth consecutive time, that Mora would be a head man again "soon."

Last month, 10 days after the Seahawks lost in the divisional playoffs at Green Bay, Holmgren announced that 2008 would be his final season. Part of the reason he did so, he said, was that "the transition beyond this year should be really smooth. The organization is healthy."

Mora went to junior high and high school in the Seattle area while his father was an assistant at the University of Washington. Many fans have called for him to replace Tyrone Willingham as the Huskies' next coach, after the team endured its third straight losing season. Willingham, who inherited a program in disarray, has been promised no more than the 2008 season by the school president.

Mora stoked those fans' desires in 2006, while he was still leading Atlanta, when he told a Seattle radio station that the UW position was his dream job. He later said that was a regrettable joke.

An announcement Wednesday would pre-empt questions about the Seahawks' direction after Holmgren.

Last month, as Holmgren was contemplating whether to return with Seattle, Mora removed himself from consideration for the vacant head coaching job with the Washington Redskins following two days of interviews.

The Seahawks are not the first team to designate a coach-in-waiting. The Indianapolis Colts recently announced Jim Caldwell as the eventual replacement for Tony Dungy, whenever Dungy decides to retire.

Copyright 2008 by the associated Press.

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