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Steve Alford reportedly hired as next coach at UCLA

Mar 30, 2013, 11:54 AM EST

Steve Alford AP

UCLA has reportedly found its replacement for former coach Ben Howland.

According to Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com, the Bruins have come to an agreement with New Mexico coach Steve Alford on a seven-year contract worth $2.6 million per year.

Alford led New Mexico to both a Mountain West regular season and conference tournament title in 2012-13. The Lobos finished with a 29-6 record on the year after losing to No. 14-seeded Harvard in the Round of 64 of the NCAA tournament.

For his efforts, Alford signed a contract extension on March 20 that was set to keep him with New Mexico through the 2023 season. That contract was due to begin April 1, but now seems to be no more.

The report from CBS Sports also says UCLA will pay his buyout from New Mexico. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the buyout in his old deal is less than $200,000, while the new contract that was planned to take effect April 1 has a buyout of $1 million.

“We want him to be here at the University of New Mexico a long time,” New Mexico athletic director Paul Krebs said at the time Alford signed with UNM just over a week ago. “Steve’s done a tremendous job — not only in wins and losses, but in graduation rate, presence in community, the good will. Look at all the national publicity about the program we’ve been receiving and he’s been a very good representative of this university in this time.”

New Mexico is now in need of a head coach and whoever they pursue will have a number of assets built into the program, among them a team that will return nearly every key piece other than Tony Snell and a strong tradition with a loyal base of fans.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

  1. mrlaloosh - Mar 30, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    “CONTRACT? We don’t need no stinking contract!? I guarantee UCLA had contacted him before he signed his new contract. I can remember when a contract was an actual, you know, CONTRACT! Sham.

    • florida727 - Mar 30, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      Seriously. Why do they even bother with a “contract”?

    • patriciodowns - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:34 AM

      It’s fitting, really. The UNM Lobos team had probably their best season ever. Coach Alford signs a huge long-term contract RIGHT BEFORE the NCAA tournament. UNM gets outplayed (not physically, but heart-wise) by Harvard, partly due to the distraction. Now, the NCAA champ is yet to be crowned, and it’s off to “greener” pastures. (Because, really, other than John Wooden, can you name a successful UCLA coach? That’s like being asked to take over the NY Jets or LA Clippers and turn them into a championship dynasty for a decade. But I digress…)

      If I were simply a UNM fan who saw a coach at the end of his contract, I’d say, “I’m glad he took advantage of his record here for something better. Hope it works out for him.” I realize that if someone gave me a chance to make double the money with more perks at a Fortune 500 company, I’d probably do it too. What I don’t like is the whole distraction of his big contract contributing to a Lobo flameout, only to say, “Guess what guys? I’m off to a big name that hasn’t been relevant for more than a decade!”

      Coach Alford, what I have to say to you ends with the phrase, “… and the horse that brung ya!”

  2. bigbendjc - Mar 30, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    The news keeps getting worse for New Mexico. First you lose your beat writer and now your coach. What’s next, a bunch of New Mexico basketball players transferring to UCLA?

  3. coryfor3 - Mar 30, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Alford’s a real piece of work.

  4. nmrdr795 - Mar 30, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Snell leaving for the nba. Craig neal son signing with st. Marys and the team quit in the ncaa tourney. Steve must have told his players he was gonna sell out at the end of this year. His speech probably went like this: well guys I’m gonna act like I’m signing an extension but really I’m gonna not thank anybody or the fans of nm who stood by me and followed me in the great lobo nation. I’m gonna leave with out a worry in my heart because I’m a sell out and all I see are dollars signs. I used you all to get where I’m at now I’m leaving nm out the back door when no oneis looking like a coward…..what a punk he is. He was just talking hy pe at senior day and acting all might then he just bounces out. I would still respect him if he did it like a man but he did it like a coward.

    • opwic - Mar 30, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      NM vs UCLA. Tough career choice.

  5. pekkle007 - Mar 30, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    On behalf of Trojan fans everywhere…. thank you, UCLA! Alford did such a gr8 job at Iowa that it totally warrants him coming to Westwood.

  6. omniusprime - Mar 31, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    Amy contract that begins on April Fool’s Day is a Fool’s contract. Too funny how Alford ditched New Mexico for awesome Los Angeles and the storied Bruins program after signing a contract. Oh well easy come, easier gone. I hope that Alford does bring the Bruins program back to where it belongs, Number 1!!! Hopefully Alford will do better at retaining good players.

    Go Bruins!!!

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