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UCLA Basketball Coaching Search Enters 97th Day

According to one report, Dan Guerrero expected to hire Jamie Dixon on Thursday. That deal now looks to be dead because UCLA refused to pay Dixon’s buyout.

UCLA’s search for a new basketball head coach is now officially a dumpster fire.

Good morning, Bruin fans! Well, maybe it’s not such a good morning. Today is Day 97 of the UCLA Basketball Coaching Search and there is no end in sight at this point. It’s pretty fair to day that it can now be classified as a fully engulfed dumpster fire. At this rate, Steve Alford will have a new job before the UCLA Bruins have a replacement for him.

With UCLA’s coaching search moving from the sublime to the ridiculous to the point where UCLA is becoming a national laughingstock, Bruins Nation is introducing two new features. The first is this article — the UCLA Basketball Coaching Search Daily Thread. Not only will we be recapping the latest ridiculousness, we will also be counting the days since Steve Alford was fired until a new coach is finally hired. As I mentioned above, today is the 97th day.

Regardless of who may have been your first choice, be it Tony Bennett, Earl Watson, or someone in between, it’s pretty safe to say that most, if not all, Bruin fans are now officially embarrassed by the utter ineptitude exhibited by the UCLA Athletic Department. If you’re going to offer John Calipari $8 million per year, you look like a joke when you balk when it comes to paying your new target’s $8 million contract buyout.

How big of a national laughingstock does UCLA look like today? Well, here’s this morning’s “Tweet of the Day” about the coaching search. It comes from Fox Sports contributor Jason McIntyre:

Wow. So, the PR staff was prepared to announce Dixon’s hiring on Thursday? What was Dan thinking? You can’t go from essentially bragging how you can afford a $48 million contract to refusing to pay an $8 million buyout and expect to get what you want.

But, hey! The UCLA Athletic Department may not be all the way back at square one. After all, Mick Cronin, Randy Bennett, Shaka Smart and Earl Watson are now likely to receive consideration!

Ugh! I think I prefer square one.

In fact, it’s probably time UCLA revisit some other potential candidates who may have been eliminated as a result of the cautiousness that was exhibited.

After watching the drama play out this week, the one conclusion that I’ve come to is that, if we’re now into the Tier C choices including Randy Bennett and Earl Watson, UCLA should not offer a contract any longer than three years.

Why three years?

Well, a three-year contract essentially kicks the can down the road into the hands of the next Athletic Director. If we figure that Dan Guerrero will still be at UCLA for the first year of the contract, that leaves just two years left under the new AD. With just two years left when the new AD takes over, if the new AD determines that the Tier C choice isn’t getting the job done after the new AD’s first year, a three-year deal would mean that UCLA only has to payout the third and final year of the deal, instead of four or five years if Dan Guerrero were to give the new hire a long-term deal.

Of course, we all know that Guerrero isn’t getting fired anytime soon, regardless of the fact that he should be fired for yet another bungled coaching search, because another incompetent UCLA bureaucrat— Chancellor Gene Block—refuses to do so. As a result, we have to rely on the fact that Dan Guerrero’s contract runs out on December 31, 2019. He may not leave exactly on that day, but, barring some unforeseen extension, I believe he will announce his retirement sometime between now and the end of the year, but will stay until either the end of the 2019-2020 school year or when a replacement Athletic Director is hired.

Unfortunately, Gene Block will still have the last word on who the next Athletic Director is because he’s still UCLA’s chancellor, meaning he could do his best impression of Dan Guerrero when it comes to picking the new AD and totally bungle the hire. UCLA’s next Athletic Director should have a track record of success as an Athletic Director at a Power Five school and that track record should include success hiring coaches and not just success raising money. I’m not saying Block shouldn’t hire someone he thinks will be a “good money manager.” I’m just saying that it ABSOLUTELY CANNOT be the only criteria. I’m also saying that Dan Guerrero’s replacement needs to have significant experience at a Power Five school because UCLA does not need to hire another athletic director from a school that doesn’t have big football and basketball programs and UCLA definitely CANNOT afford to hire a first-time athletic director either.

That said, the other feature we are introducing this morning and will use whenever appropriate is our new Dan Guerrero Contract Countdown Timer! This is designed to let you know just how much time remains on Dan Guerrero’s contract.

What are your latest thoughts on the UCLA Basketball Coach Search? Sound off in the comments below.

This is your Day 97 open thread.

Go Bruins!!!