According to the Los Angeles Times, Steve Alford expects to be offered an extension beyond his current contract which expires in the 2019-2020 season. He intends to remain part of UCLA basketball “as we move through the future here because obviously we’re excited about the direction of our program”.
After completely missing the 2016 post season, UCLA basketball staged quite a turn around this year with a much faster paced, exciting game plan that included future NBA draft picks, freshman T.J. Leaf and Lonzo Ball. With two more Ball brothers and two McDonald’s All-Americans, Jaylen Hands and Kris Wilkes on the way, many might say Steve Alford has earned the contract extension and he has every right to expect one.
Maybe if you’re just a passing basketball fan and this is the first article you’ve ever read on Bruins Nation.
The writers of Bruins Nation laid out expectations for the 2016-2017 season that included a Pac 12 Championship and/or at least an Elite Eight appearance. Neither of these materialized. Under Alford, the Bruins have not won a conference championship and have not made it past the Sweet 16. In fact, UCLA has not been the conference champion or made it past the Sweet 16 since the Howland years. The last Final Four appearance was in the 2007-2008 season. While the Bruins won the Pac 12 tournament in Alford’s first year, the team has not come close to measuring up to what should be UCLA’s standards.
Instead, we have a coach mistaking entertaining basketball for winning. He is mistaking ticket sales for championship banners. He believes that butts in seats equates to a contract extension.
Many said that if Alford couldn’t do it with this team, he never would. Why, then, does he deserve to stick around Westwood just to achieve more mediocrity? It’s time we move on from this coach and find one that can carry on the UCLA basketball legacy effectively with the morals that UCLA truly stands for. Unfortunately, the longer Alford stays, the further we get from the greatness of UCLA basketball. We can only hope that this greatness is not just a thing of the past.