UCLA Coaching Search: Pushing Back Against the "Combative Idiocy" and "Intellectual Laziness" in National Media

Stephen Dunn

Highlighting a must read article from BruinReportOnline.com that debunks a number of myths floating around in the national media that are being used to denigrate the UCLA basketball program and its fans.

David Woods from BruinReportOnline.com has a must read article that systematically debunks the "combative idiocy" and "intellectual laziness" that we have been seeing from the members of the national media last 48-72 hours. This was not a surprise. We fully expected this to happen as discussed here and here.

Thankfully there are few like Bomani Jones who gets the truth about Howland and UCLA basketball, but in last few days we have seen an onslaught of ignorant commentary from guys like Seth Davis, Doug Gottlieb - launching all out venomous attacks on the program.

Wood's article is a must read and must share with all other UCLA alums and basketball fans who are currently under siege with the nonsense from national media. Here is David ripping apart the BS about the "extremely high expectations" of UCLA and it's fans, "expecting to win national championships very year":

This is probably the most pervasive of the myths, and probably the most nefarious when it comes to damaging the UCLA brand in the eyes of potential coaches. The evidence used is that UCLA fired Steve Lavin and Ben Howland despite, for the former, five Sweet 16s and for the latter, three straight Final Fours. This myth is usually a couplet, sometimes combining with "UCLA only hangs National Championship banners" or "UCLA fans are disappointed with anything but championships."

Of course, it simply isn't true that UCLA or its fans have extraordinarily high expectations, at least relative to other elite jobs (Duke, North Carolina, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky). The Bruins have had just two coaches in the last 17 years, for an average tenure of a little over eight years. The average tenure of coaches in the entirety of college basketball is right around five years, which puts UCLA well above the norm in terms of the amount of time it gives coaches to be successful. In terms of the actual expectations, judging by the last two coaching tenures at UCLA, fans and the administration would be more than happy with competing for the conference championship every year and making a deep tournament run every few years.

Actually, that might even be overstating UCLA's expectations. Given the situations with the last two basketball coaches, the only fireable offense the evidence presents is completely cratering the program.

Then, pushing back against the smear that "UCLA is not an elite job":

This is more of an obvious attempt to denigrate the job, and speaks to an enormous level of ignorance about the UCLA job. Among coaches, the UCLA job is coveted, and is commonly considered one of the top 5 jobs in the country.

UCLA is centered in one of the most fertile recruiting hotbeds in the United States. Lavin, before he destroyed his credibility in recruiting circles, was able to recruit exceptionally high level talent to UCLA despite being a charlatan. Howland, before the word got out that he was no fun to play for, was equally capable of getting high level talent from the LA area. In terms of recruiting, UCLA has access to more talent local to its area than probably any of the other elite high major schools.

It's recognized in coaching circles, too, that the west in general is down, and a strong UCLA program would be primed to take over in recruiting.

The tradition of UCLA still carries some cachet. Although it's been nearly two decades since the last title, and nearly four since the Wooden years, UCLA is still the premier program in the West. When it has, at minimum, an above average coach who hasn't poisoned the recruiting well, UCLA finds itself high on the lists of the majority of elite, high major players in the West.

And lastly, quashing the concern trolling about good coach staying away from Westwood:

This one is based on the two myths above, but, again, is founded purely in speculative ignorance. Howland was coming off a National Coach of the Year Award at Pittsburgh when he elected to take the UCLA job for, likely, less than his market rate. Toward the end of Lavin's tenure at UCLA, Rick Pitino was very interested in taking the job, but backed off when the word got out midseason.

This year, we're already hearing that feelers between UCLA and Pitino, Billy Donovan, and Brad Stevens have been met with interest by those parties. As is obvious from multiple media reports being floated, several coaches are trying to get their names involved in the coaching search, since so many of them would covet the job.

With money to spend, potential for a coach's salary to be among the top five in the industry, a renovated facility, a fertile recruiting base, and relatively low expectations, the UCLA job is one of the most well-regarded in all of college basketball among coaches, and among the more informed talking heads.

Read David's entire post here.

BruinReportOnline.com has been solid and on point when it comes to reporting on coaching situation at UCLA. As usual information provided by Tracy Pierson and his colleagues like Greg Hicks, Brandon Huffman, David Woods and Greg Biggins are well worth the subscription.


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