I’ll admit it. Ever since the news broke about Indiana firing Tom Crean the other day, I’ve been waiting for the official news that Steve Alford is leaving UCLA. Heck, the other day I wrote about how the end of the Steve Alford era may finally be in sight.
Frankly, I wasn’t expecting much more news about this until after UCLA is finished in the tournament.
But, I don’t control the news cycle and that’s why today there’s a report that says that Indiana has offered Steve Alford a 7-year, $31 million contract.
Steve Alford has been offered a 7-year, $31M contract, according to multiple people within this fluid situation. #ucla #indiana— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) March 19, 2017
Apparently, that tweet was ambiguous enough to leave people wondering whether the offer was from Indiana or UCLA. So, Schultz sent out another tweet.
That’s an average of about $4.4 million per year. That’s substantially more than the $2.6 million per year that UCLA is currently paying Alford. It’s a 70% raise.
There are other reports that IU’s deal with Alford is done. Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star writes:
The Alford-to-IU noise is so loud, coaches around the country are telling me what they’re hearing: They expect Adidas — IU has a $54 million contract with Adidas through 2024 — to pay Alford’s $7.8 million buyout at UCLA. It too was an Adidas school when UCLA hired Alford in 2013, but the Bruins recently left Adidas for a 15-year, $280 million deal with Under Armour. Adidas would love to return the favor and help Alford leave UCLA. That’s what other coaches are hearing, and telling me.
How hot is Alford’s IU candidacy? So hot that WFNI's Dan Dakich told me in a text message Saturday — with Alford’s third-seeded Bruins preparing to play No. 6 Cincinnati on Sunday — that “the deal (with) Alford is done.” Dakich and Alford played together at IU. Another coincidence, maybe.
So, let me get this straight. According to this report, Adidas is about to get suckered into paying UCLA another $7.8 million to take our basketball coach of questionable moral character who has never made it past the Sweet 16 off our hands?
Now, this is an Adidas check that Dan Guerrero should send Tyus Edney to cash!
To be fair, however, there is at least one Indiana reporter who is disputing that this has been offered to Alford. That reporter is Jeff Rabjohns from Peegs.com, Scout’s Indiana site. He tweets:
This is not accurate. https://t.co/VqQtgqoZpP— Jeff Rabjohns (@JeffRabjohns) March 19, 2017
But, note, the fact that Rabjohns simply states that Schultz’s report isn’t accurate, but he doesn’t say that Indiana has not offered Alford a contract. So the question is, if it’s not accurate, exactly what isn’t accurate?
How convinced are people that Alford is leaving Westwood? They are so convinced that stories are starting to pop up about who UCLA should hire to replace Alford. The Big Lead is one site with an article like that, but really only two names on their list even merit consideration by Dan Guerrero. One is Gregg Marshall and the other is Bryce Drew.
Marshall probably would have been willing to listen to UCLA when Ben Howland was fired since he has a longstanding policy of listening to whomever wants to speak with him, but Dan Guerrero wanted to save on plane fare or had some other urgent reason for wanting to speak with Marshall while his team was still playing in the 2013 NCAA Tournament but Marshall wouldn’t do it. He declined to talk with UCLA until after Wichita State’s season was done. Guerrero wouldn’t wait and Alford was hired.
Thanks to Kentucky, that issue doesn’t exist this time around and Dan should either be on a plane to Wichita tomorrow or Marshall should be on a plane to LA.
As for Bryce Drew, I heard rumors last year that Drew was interested in coming to UCLA if Guerrero had fired Alford last year and that he viewed UCLA as a destination school, not a springboard. Ultimately, he accepted the Vanderbilt job after it was clear that Alford wasn’t leaving Westwood. While Bryce has never made it deep in the tournament, he also has just six years head coaching experience, which puts him into the category of up-and-coming coaches.
But, Tommy Amaker? He’s another guy who’s never made it farther than the Sweet 16 in 20 years of coaching.
Archie Miller? Nope. His brother disqualifies him.
Kevin Ollie does have one national title at UCONN, but his teams have been mediocre at best since. We’ll pass.
Randy Bennett of St. Mary’s is intriguing, but he’s never made it to even the Sweet 16 with the Gaels. Now, that could be because he’s coaching a West Coast Conference team, but so is Mark Few.
Speaking of Few, there’s someone Guerrero should meet with. In 18 seasons at Gonzaga, he’s NEVER missed the NCAA Tournament. He’s made the Elite Eight once. Surely, with the talent UCLA attracts he could get that National Championship he’s missed in Spokane.
Then, there’s Bryce Drew’s brother Scott who is currently at Baylor. He’s made the Elite Eight twice at Baylor and consistently has his teams in the tournament and would make an excellent choice in addition to Marshall, Few, and his brother Bryce.