There's good news and bad news. The good news is that Steve Alford will no longer be occupying an office in Westwood, and while it's kind of sad to see college basketball's Lane Kiffin continue to fail upward, it's worth it to have him as far from UCLA as possible. The bad news, of course, is that Dan Guerrero is still our athletic director, which means he has a golden opportunity to botch yet another head coach search. So, given Guerrero's overall trajectory in hiring coaches, expect an announcement in the next few weeks that we've signed moronic and out-of-touch Dick Vitale to a 7 year, $3.5 million per year deal with a $10 million buy-out clause.
Moving on to the news itself, as you've probably heard, things were not going particularly well in Bloomington for Tom Crean, with the Hoosiers missing out on post-season play entirely, getting snubbed from the NIT, and with players fleeing the program like rats escaping a sinking ship, with a number of transfers that would make even Ben Howland blush. Ouch. So, given the high expectations for the Hoosiers, Crean was handed his walking papers late last night/very early this morning (depending on your time zone). And unlike Chianti Dan, it looks like Indiana AD Fred Glass had a plan in place - Steve Alford.
Shortly after word had leaked out that Crean was terminated, various Twitter users indicated that UCLA head coach Steve Alford had been spotted, first, at LAX, and as few hours later, at Indianapolis International Airport, which naturally led to the local Indiana media showing up, giving us definitive proof that Alford was, indeed, in Indiana:
Of course, at that time, Alford had no comment, but a few hours later, Indiana released this official statement from Glass, confirming that Crean was fired and that Alford would be coming in as his replacement:
Earlier this afternoon I met with Coach Crean, we had a nice conversation about the program and a number of things and subsequent to that discussion, I informed him that we were relieving him of his duties as our head coach here at Indiana at and that we’d be bringing in Steve Alford, an alum and national championship winning point guard, as his replacement.
As we went into this season, there were aspirations to obviously compete for a conference championship and make a run in the tournament and obviously, we did not make those benchmarks. However, the evaluation of a coach involves a number of other things besides just wins and losses, and as I looked at the entire program and where I felt we were, especially heading into next year – which is obviously where we need to look at this point in time -- I felt that now was the appropriate time to make a decision to make a change and get a fresh start.
We were very fortunate to have Tom with us the past six seasons and the entire Indiana basketball family owes him a huge measure of thanks for all of his hard work and dedication in turning around the program from where it was when he arrived. Tom is an excellent coach and I am confident he will be a fine addition to another university - I wish him and his family all the best. I simply felt that, given a number of factors, it was time to move in a different direction that I believe will return our men's basketball program to the prominent position it once enjoyed.
For those reasons, after an exhaustive search, the search focus group and I felt that Steve Alford would be the best coach to take us to that next level. Steve is one of our own, having won a national championship for Indiana as a point guard in 1987. His record of success speaks for itself and I am confident that Steve is the best coach for the job. Please join us all in welcoming Steve, his wife Tanya, and his family back to Bloomington.
Oddly enough, the huge buyout that we blasted Chianti Dan for is going to turn into a huge windfall for UCLA, not because of Chanti's brilliance or foresight, but by literally lucking into the perfect solution - as they say, a broken clock is right twice a day. Information on how Alford and Indiana intend on funding Alford's huge buyout wasn't released, but the reasonable speculation is that Indiana boosters are putting together the cash Of course, it wouldn't be surprising if Indiana somehow takes advantage of Chianti's buffoonery and we end up getting short-changed with the buy-out (although I suppose that's the price we'll have to pay for Chianti's buffoonery in hiring Alford in the first place).
Additionally, Twitter rumor is that Bryce Alford is likely to transfer to Indiana, given both his father's appointment as the head coach and the total lack of depth in Bloomington due to the mass exodus due to graduation and transfers, which will leave UCLA with a even more depleted back-court, unless the new coach is able to get in quickly and convince LaVine to return to Westwood as the starting PG. Of course, expect Alford to try to sweet talk some of those Indiana guys out of transferring and then claim a big recruiting success, much like he did when he came to Westwood. But you know what? He's no longer our problem, so Bruins, rejoice!
Oh, and there's some more bad news: check the calendar. You've been had. Tricked. Fooled. Bamboozled. Both by us (all in good April Fools' fun of course) but also, on a more serious note, by Dan Guerrero and Steve Alford - he's still our coach, we still have no legitimate Pac-12 quality PG for next year, and we're still on the hook for a huge buyout if we decide this whole mediocre, rape apologizing, #HoosierLoser thing doesn't work out.
But yes, have a happy April Fools' day!