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Is UCLA About to Lose Yet Another Coaching Candidate?

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If UCLA cannot land Rick Barnes, they will have missed on (at least) three candidates.

UCLA Introduces Jim Mora Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

If coffee is for closers, the JD Morgan Center on the UCLA campus, which is home to the UCLA Athletic Department, must be declared a coffee-free zone for the foreseeable future. In fact, I don’t think you’re allowed to bring any past the Bruin Bear, not even decaf.

Why? Because it seems like UCLA is having problems closing a deal for a new men’s basketball head coach.

First, it was John Calipari. There’s no quicker way to not close a coach than to offer him less than what he’s currently being paid, no matter how much prestige a job may have. Of course, that’s assuming there’s any prestige left after the Athetic Department finally completes this search.

Then, after offering Coach Cal $8 million dollars per year, UCLA’s Athletic Director Dan Guerrero thought the school had a deal to bring TCU coach Jamie Dixon to Westwood. How confident was Dan? He was so confident that, according to one report, he actually had the department’s PR staff begin preparations on Thursday to announce Dixon as the school’s new coach.

Oops.

You would think that after blowing it with Calipari and, then again with Dixon, the UCLA Athletic Department would have learned their lesson.

You would be wrong.

As if those two situations weren’t enough, now, Seth Davis is reporting that UCLA thought they had landed Barnes last night.

As if that’s not enough, Knoxville radio host Tony Basilio is tweeting about Barnes’ $5M buyout being a sticking point in negotiations between UCLA and Barnes.

So, until UCLA actually announces that Barnes is the new coach, almost anything can happen.

Why? Because it certainly seems like Dan Guerrero and the Basketball Search Committee he tasked with the job of finding a new basketball coach are unable to close a deal.

It also bears repeating that you don’t flaunt an $8M per year offer to one guy and then balk at paying a buyout for what can presumably be called your second and third choices.


Go Bruins.