Jeff Eisenberg From Yahoo! Sports has a pretty fair pro and con piece on UCLA's hiring of Steve Alford (HT BruinOB). My only point of contention with Jeff (a Bruin alum( is about Shaka Smart's "disinterest" in UCLA because based on reports it appears reasonable to infer that UCLA didn't make a serious pitch to Smart.
What is weird about this story is that in this case Alford signed with UCLA merely days after signing a 10 year contract extension with New Mexico. So that takes away any excuse from Dan Guerrero and his shills that the Bruins couldn't have pursued Smart because he had just signed a contract extension with VCU Rams. Unfortunately we don't have any decent investigative sports reporters who would look into the questions re. why UCLA never made a serious pursuit of Smart. Something seems terribly off.
UCLA is making Alford the highest paid coach in the Pac-12 conference (and the 10th highest in the country if I have math correct - if I don't please suggest edits in the comment thread) with a 7 year K (!). Meanwhile, Smart signed a contract with VCU that will pay him $1.5 million per year which looks modest per comparison. I don't think anyone can make the argument that Alford has a higher ceiling than Smart given his coaching record. Let's hope the next athletic director at UCLA (Guerrero should get fired this week) can keep this scenario in mind should the Bruins need to be on the market for another coach in next 3-4 years (hey, let's hope not).
Going back to Alford, as I said in the comment we welcome him to Westwood. Not his fault that a clown like Guerrero was in charge of another joke search process and offered him the job. We will support him and set reasonable expectations after we get a better idea of the personnel available to him next season. It is also cool to see how much his former players love him. That's a good sign.
But while we welcome Alford - if you want to be objective about hire - read this from Glen Logan from SBN's Sea of Blue, who has been providing perhaps most objective and fair insight on our program among the outside observers during our coaching search fiasco:
I really don't know what to make of this hire. It can't engender much excitement because Alford isn't considered an elite coach. At the same time, it isn't a fail or anything, but it's the kind of hire you would expect of Minnesota or Kansas State, not UCLA, North Carolina or Kentucky. I'm sure that's not lost on the Bruin faithful, either. The relationship of their fan base with the UCLA Athletics Director, Dan Guerrero, could at best be considered restive, and at worst, abusive and close to outright mutiny. This hire may be solid, but it raises almost as many questions as it answers.
That nails it.
As for Guerrero - we will have lot more on this clown - in the coming days, weeks, months and years. We will be relentless until this guy is gone. If UCLA's Chancellor wants to maintain any sense of credibility he should let go of this incompetent, worthless bureaucrat by tomorrow before he cashes in his $750,000 on April Fools Day.
Anyway, welcome to Westwood Coach Alford.