UCLA Finds Their New Coach And It’s A Surprise Choice
The popular names came 1st. The chosen name right after. Shaka Smart said no thanks and he stayed at Virginia Commonwealth. Then Brad Stevens decided Butler was the place he wants to be right now. However Steve Alford shocked the college basketball world when he said yes.
Much as he did when he left Iowa 6 years ago Steve Alford stuns that same circle again as he leaves a team that finished 1st in the Mountain West this past year, 4 times in his 6 years, and returns all of it's starters. Alford claimed he would not have left new Mexico for any other program. We have heard similar in the past. he gets paid 2.6 million per year on his new UCLA contract. Alford hasn't heard or seen similar numbers on his UNM contract.
UCLA canned Ben Howland last Sunday despite 4 final 4 appearances. Howland served as head man at UCLA for the past 10 years. He has not resurfaced yet as a candidate for a current opening.
In making the hiring from left field UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero talked about how Alford, who played for Bobby Knight at Indiana and was thought to be the choice to replace Knight if he ever left or retired, was prepared for the pressure of UCLA and southern California. Alford often heard rumors he was next in line at Indiana while he was coaching at Iowa. He stunned most college basketball people when he up and left the big 10 for the Mountain West. Despite his regular season success at New Mexico and even at Iowa, Alford has been dogged by criticism about his lack of NCAA tournament success. Despite being a 3 seed in this years tourney, Alford's Lobos were upset by Harvard in the 2nd round. It was Harvard's 1st ever NCAA tourney win.
Alford gets a 7 year deal to leave sleepy New Mexico for the hustle and bustle of SoCal. he also brings his son, Bryce, who was his top "recruit" in 2013 and set to play for him at UNM.