NCAA: UCLA Cleans House, Fires Coach Alford

NCAA

It’s a new year. It’s 2019 and more than a few teams in the NCAA want a fresh start. UCLA has decided to shake things up at the top and have fired coach Steve Alford. UCLA will pay him a sum of $3.6 million as part of a buyout of his existing contract. The school announced on January 1st that assistant coach Murry Barstow will take the helm as the interim head coach.

Alford coached the Bruins for five and a half seasons, with some level of success, as they made it to the top-16 of the NCAA tournament three times during his reign. The 2018-19 season has been an almost all-downhill tumble for the program. They are 7-6 and have lost four straight games now.

“I’m extremely appreciative to everybody at UCLA for what has been a tremendous run and the chance to work with such special student-athletes and coaches,” said Alford via statement. “While I wish we could have had more success, my family and I are so grateful for our time in Westwood. We wish this program nothing but the best. I sincerely hope that the UCLA community will rally around this team, its players and the coaching staff as Pac-12 play begins.”

UCLA has several options as far as filling the position is concerned. Some names that have been floated in connection with the post are former Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg, Eric Musselman of Nevada, and Gregg Marshall of Wichita State.

Their disappointing start may have cost them a shot at an NCAA title this season, however, a drastic turnaround is not out of the question, albeit unlikely. The important thing for now is to preserve and improve the integrity of their basketball program, especially the recruitment side. Alford was responsible for drawing the interest of Shareef O’Neal, son of NBA Legend, Shaquille O’Neal. The takeaway here is that the school recognized the urgency of the problem and decided to nip it in the bud before it got any worse. It’s a new year and time for new beginnings. UCLA may not have a clean slate as far as wins go, but they will have a new direction and coach to guide them towards that coveted trophy at the end of the season.

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