Multiple sources are reporting that Steve Alford has been fired by UCLA.
It’s done. One of our long Bruins National nightmares is finally over and UCLA will now start looking to find someone credible to lead Coach Wooden’s program again.
After a long day of waiting, Dan Guerrero finally decided to remove Steve Alford as the head coach of the UCLA men’s basketball program.
An official announcement from UCLA is expected in the morning.
Bruin fans will no longer have to put up with a men’s basketball coach who should have never been hired in the first place.
When Alford’s hiring was first confirmed by UCLA on March 30, 2013, Ryan Rosenblatt wrote these words about the hiring:
If nothing else, Alford should be a boon to recruiting. He is very popular among recruits and has a lot of good west coast relationships, especially in California. Ben Howland burned a lot of recruiting bridges in the state of California and the need for UCLA to repair those relationships had absolutely torched (seriously, it was that bad) cannot be underestimated. Alford does that, putting UCLA back in the room with a slew of top recruits who never even considered the Bruins before now.
Whether he can coach is up for debate -- he has been to the Sweet 16 just once -- but he is going to recruit.
Well, yeah. He did recruit well. Whether he can coach is no longer up for debate. He cannot.
After six mostly miserable seasons for Bruin fans, Alford has coached his final game at Pauley Pavilion. He lost to Liberty University. Liberty. By 15 points.
Bruin Report Online is reporting that a buyout was negotiated most of the day today and an agreement was reached tonight. Terms of the negotiated buyout are not known.
At this time, it is uncertain who will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. That information will likely come with the official announcement tomorrow.
The UCLA Athletic Department can now get on with the business of finding someone who can recruit and who knows how to advance a team past the Sweet 16.
As Rosenblatt pointed out back in 2013, prior to coming to UCLA, Alford had led a team to the Sweet 16 once...just once. In 1999, he did it at Southwest Missouri State. He never did it at Iowa or New Mexico. He did it three times at UCLA. Giving him credit, in one of those Sweet 16 appearances, UCLA had no business even making that tournament.
But, at the same time, the fact that he couldn’t get one of the most talented UCLA Bruins teams of the past twenty years past the Sweet 16, despite having Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf, also proved him to be the absolute failure of a coach that many Bruin fans have known for years.
Steve Alford wasn’t it. Steve Alford never was it. He wasn’t it before he was officially introduced.
Now, everyone, please join with me: “Left, right, left, right, left, right! Sit down! So long, Chief!”
It’s time to fix Bruin basketball.
UPDATE (12/31/2019): When UCLA made the firing official, it was announced that Murry Bartow will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. The announcment included the following statement from Athletic Director Dan Guerrero:
Throughout my career as an athletic director, I have maintained a belief that making a head coaching change during a season is rarely in the best interests of our student-athletes or program. In this case, however, it is now clear to me that what is best for our current students and for the overall good of the program, is to make this change now. While Steve led us to three Sweet 16 appearances, we simply have not been performing at a consistent level and our struggles up to this point in the season do not bode well for the future. On behalf of UCLA Athletics, I want to thank Steve, Tanya and the entire Alford family for their commitment to UCLA and wish them all of the best in the future.
The announcement also mentioned that the search committee will consist of Senior Associate Athletic Director Josh Rebholz, Associate Athletic Director Chris Carlson and Bruin basketball alumnus and Golden State Warriors President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Bob Myers.
Obviously, Myers knows what he’s doing. Carlson is a name many may not be familiar with. In addition to playing an instrumental role last year in getting Chinese authorities to release the UCLA basketball players who had been arrested for shoplifting, he served as the Director of Basketball Operations under former head coach Ben Howland. Prior to coming to Westwood, he worked with Howland at both Pittsburgh and Northern Arizona. Carlson is a 1993 graduate of UCSB. From 2007-2013, Carlson served as the head coach at UC San Diego.
Carlson’s presence on the search committee could be an indication that the school will be focusing on hiring current TCU head coach Jamie Dixon, due to the fact that Carlson’s connection with Dixon seems to go all the way back to the 1991-92 season when both were at UCSB.
UCLA’s announcement also included this statement from Steve Alford:
I’m extremely appreciative to everybody at UCLA for what has been a tremendous run and the chance to work with such special student-athletes and coaches. While I wish we could have had more success, my family and I are so grateful for our time in Westwood. We wish this program nothing but the best. I sincerely hope that the UCLA community will rally around this team, its players and the coaching staff as Pac-12 play begins.