UCLA hires New Mexico’s Steve Alford as coach
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
After a week of uncertainty, rumors swirling about potential candidates and some surprising disinterest, UCLA has finally hired its next coach.
The school announced Saturday morning that it has hired New Mexico coach Steve Alford to take over its program.
“Steve is the perfect fit for UCLA,” UCLA athletics director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. “He is part of the storied history of the game of college basketball and understands the tradition and uniqueness of UCLA. Yet he also connects with a new generation of players and brings an up-tempo and team-oriented brand of basketball to Westwood. We welcome Steve, his wife Tanya, and children Kory, Bryce and Kayla to the Bruin family and look forward to many years of success.”
Alford, 48, signed a seven-year deal worth about $2.6 million per year, according toCBSSports. ESPN’s Andy Katz first reported the hiring Saturday morning.
Ten days ago, Alford signed a 10-year deal with New Mexico, supposedly keeping him with the Lobos through 2023 with a $240,000 raise to bring his salary to approximately $1 million per year. UCLA is expected to pay Alford’s buyout.
Alford will be formally introduced to the Los Angeles media at a press conference on Tuesday.
“I have been so fortunate and blessed in my life, and an opportunity to lead the one of the greatest programs in college basketball history is once-in-a-lifetime,” Alford said. “It is an honor to be the Head Coach at UCLA, yet it is also a responsibility to ensure that our former, current and future players and fans are proud to be Bruins. I am grateful to Chancellor Gene Block and Dan Guerrero for this amazing opportunity and I can’t wait to get started.”
Alford has taken New Mexico to the NCAA tournament three times (including this season) during his six years with the Lobos. Before that, Alford previously coached at Iowa, Southwest Missouri State and Manchester College. He also played collegiately for Bob Knight and led the 1987 Indiana team to a national championship.
Alford replaces Ben Howland, who was fired after a 10-year stint in Los Angeles that included three Final Four appearances.… [For more on UCLA hires New Mexico's Steve Alford as new coach, click here.]