UCLA to Hire Steve Alford

By Ramzy Nasrallah on March 30, 2013 at 12:06p

Being notoriously stingy with your basketball program has its, um, consequences.

UCLA, considered by most one of the top five college basketball jobs in the country, found at least two of its initial candidates – VCU's Shake Smart and Butler's Brad Stevens – uninterested in the job. Those decisions surprised many Bruins who still see the program as a desirable spot.

Coaches however point to the school's relatively modest commitment to budgets, the challenge of managing the many off-court and recruiting distractions of Los Angeles and the fact that schools of all sizes are now paying extremely well – especially in comparison to the cost of living on L.A.'s west side.

The Bruins now have a young coach with a track record of modest success at programs with very little pressure. Remember, Alford left Iowa after eight seasons for New Mexico after failing to ingratiate himself with boosters and alumni. Good thing he won't have to do that at UCLA, right?


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painterlad's picture

UCLA is considered a "top five" program??? Only to those above the age of 60 with no internet or someone that has access to a DeLoren capable of reaching 88 miles per hour.

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

AndyVance's picture

ESPN's Rece Davis was asked that question on WBNS-FM yesterday, "Is UCLA a Top 5 job?" And he practically laughed: "No way."
it was once, but the budget/facilities issues are really a problem for that program. Alford is still a "name," though, so hopefully he'll be able to engender some excitement among the moneyed classes in the fan base...

Mr. Slick's picture

I knew I should have applied for that job

Buckeye Chuck's picture

Alford has done a good job at programs that are lower profile jobs, but he got out of Iowa one step ahead of the sheriff, after an overall losing conference record. And now he gets the UCLA job on the heels of one of the biggest upsets of the NCAA Tournament? I think he'll be "successful" on some level, but there's nothing in his track record that shows he can win enough to satisfy that particular fanbase.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

AndyVance's picture

True though that may be, one could argue that neither Iowa nor New Mexico were huge basketball dynasties from which to mount a massive tournament run. One commentator this morning posed the question if Alford perhaps felt he'd done all he could do at NM and was ready for the challenge of UCLA...

Buckeye Chuck's picture

Yeah, but Alford didn't even do as well at Iowa as Lute Olson and Tom Davis had. I just find it very strange that someone could have a losing conference record at a major school, and not only get a good job after that (a la Rich Rodriguez), but an even better job.
Alford's career has a few parallels to that of Tommy Amaker, the guy who just beat him in the tournament. They played around the same time, both got head coaching jobs very early, both proceeded up the ladder until having problems in the Big Ten (Amaker's record at Ann Arbor obviously wasn't great, but it was closer to Alford's record than people think), and both revived their reputations somewhat in a "lesser" conference. But it would have looked equally weird had UCLA hired Amaker.
Alford must still have a lingering aura from his playing days. That he was able to last as long at Iowa as he did is in retrospect pretty amazing. He took over a program that was close to being a NCAA perennial, and began with 4 straight losing seasons in conference play. The Hawkeyes did improve after that, but very few coaches ever would have gotten that chance.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

AndyVance's picture

Wow, great analogy with Tommy A.; hadn't thought about that. Definitely think Alford still has some cred left from his glory days on the court, and for a team as stuck in the "good ol' days" as UCLA, that may be strangely comforting.

Hovenaut's picture

Guess Alford wanted that next big gig.

Say he makes it five years, then the return to IU? I see Crean wearing himself out there.....

danbrown7665's picture

Bad hire for UCLA. They fired Howland just to swing for the fences to  get a Stevens, or a Smart. They struck out.
UCLA fired a coach who went to 3 final fours for a guy who was just ousted in the 1st round by a 14 seeded Harvard team that lost its 2 captains before the season started?
How committed to UCLA can he be? He left Iowa for New Mexico, then right after he agreed to a 10-year extension he bolts for UCLA?
Why not Kareem? I think he would energize that fan-base both on the court and in recruiting. Who wouldnt want to play for an NBA legend? Plus, he pushed for the job.
I believe UCLA will be looking for their next coach in about 5 years. Hopefully, they consider Kareem, then.

"limitations, like fears are often just illusions"
-Michael Jordan, the greatest athlete of all time

Buckeye Chuck's picture

By which time Kareem will be 70. With no relevant experience other than being a famous athlete and alumnus.
Would anyone have realistically considered hiring Rex Kern to replace Jim Tressel? Because it would be the same thing.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

AndyVance's picture

Totally agree that they were swinging for the fences and got - at best - a double. Also agree that Ben Howland really has to be scratching his head right about now, saying, "Huh?"

btalbert25's picture

How do you fire a guy who made 3 strait final fours for Steve freakin Alford? 

Mush's picture

 Let's see, 11 transfers in 4 years (three of which turned into All-MWC), only 8 schollie players on this years team, W-L record last 4 years 81-52 in a mediocre Pac12, eroding AAU and recruiting contacts in L.A., 3 of this year's starters were transfers from Chapel Hill. Anyone following UCLA closely knew Howland had to go.
On the flip side, UCLA's brass need to commit to facilities and athletics in general with the new PAC12 monies.
Imcompetent leadership pulled a fast trigger to Alford who was not a hot commodity. 

BrewstersMillions's picture

Steve Alford is a scumbag's scumbag. At least he gets to live out his dream of covering up rapes and intimidating alleged victims at a major program now.
I hope UCLA fires him inside of 2 years.

William's picture

Let me get this straight, you get upset when people accuse Ray Lewis of murder by hearsay, but you accuse Alford of intimidating the girl that Pierre Pierce raped, based on hearsay? That's just slightly hypocritical...

DefendOhio's picture

Honestly, I think OSU is a more attractive job than UCLA. Who would have ever thought that 15 years ago?

lamplighter's picture

I thought he was coaching high school somewhere

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

Howland will end up with a good coaching job within a year, and probably at a school with more realistic expectations.
Alford to IU seemed unreastic when I read it, Hovenaut, but after watching Crean get out-coached two games in a row, I'm not ruling it out.

cplunk's picture

I wonder if Minnesota will go after Howland. No reason to think that, just think I would if I was Minny's AD

Dr. House's picture

amazing some moron calling dan dakich's show yesterday (only listening because i wanted to hear iu fans sweet sad phone calls)said that steve alford was going to land the UCLA because that was all the talk in new castle, indiana. and holy crap that lady scooped it. congrats random caller.
and congrats ucla for getting your third choice in your coaching search. 

740's picture

great hire for ucla. when i think: "basketball hotbed," new mexico and iowa rank barely before anchorage and kabul.

RC's picture

So they fired one coach that lost in the first round of the tournament to hire another coach that lost in the first round of the tournamant...to a lower seed.  Brilliant!!