Bumped from fanposts. - BN Eds.
"We found a coach that not only represents and honors the treasured history of UCLA's place in college basketball, but also a coach who will bring a brand of unselfish basketball," Athletic Director Dan Guerrero gushed.
Guerrero was also questioned - about whether UCLA had properly vetted its new coach and investigated what happened at Iowa. He said he "clearly discussed" the Pierce situation with Alford before hiring him.
However, when Alford was asked a similar question, he said the topic never came up.
These are two sections from Chris Foster's article in the L.A. Times which is up today. You can read it here, and it looks like the times did some research and did head back to Iowa to look into things. The fact that Alford denied answering these type of questions with Dan also makes one wonder whether these issues were vetted at all. In Peter Yoon's article Dan claims:
Guerrero says Alford's character is, in fact, a big part of what made him a candidate for the UCLA job. He vetted Alford during the hiring process and discussed the Pierce incident with former Iowa athletic director, Bob Bowlsby, as well as with officials at the University of New Mexico.
I wonder if these issues were ever brought up with Bowlsby and/or officials at UNM. Considering the lost look on Alford's face when the issue was raised at the press conference, my guess is that none of this happened. I also wonder if Dan misrepresented this to Gene?
The controversy prompted one group of UCLA fans to circulate a petition calling for Guerrero to be fired because he had "disregarded Mr. Alford's history of defending a sex offender or did little to no research into Mr. Alford's past."
With little publicity, the petition generated nearly 2,000 signatures.
I think the Times has done a pretty good job bringing out the issues related to character and qualifications we have been discussing, while including the views of people who support Alford. It would have been great if the Times had given it more room, but they have hit the important points.
I encourage people here to write a letter to the editor about the situation and/or the article. I know I will be doing so. You may send a letter here. You may write to Chris Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org .