The Los Angeles Times’ T.J. Simers reported Saturday that after the Bruins were turned down by Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens, UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero contacted Jackson’s representative to talk about having the championship coach lead the search for a new UCLA basketball coach. Simers says Jackson was agreeable, so Guerrero reportedly was planning to have a press conference to announce that Jackson would be involved with the search. Guerrero reportedly was planning to have Jackson later meet with recruits to help the new coach.
According to Simers, Guerrero told Jackson’s rep he would take the weekend before putting the deal together. UCLA announced the hiring of Steve Alford on Saturday, which would suggest that Jackson missed out on another opportunity while being left in flux.
Jackson’s agents, Todd and Brian Musburger, issued a statement Monday to deny that Jackson was asked to lead the UCLA coaching search.
“Contrary to published reports, Dan Guerrero never asked Phil Jackson to lead the search for a new basketball coach for UCLA, nor was there ever a discussion about a press conference to make such an announcement. No terms or conditions for such a position were ever discussed nor was there ever a conversation with Mr. Guerrero and us about Phil meeting with recruits or helping the new coach. We were not waiting for a return call from Mr. Guerrero. We are disappointed that the writer who disseminated this misinformation made no advance attempt to contact us to verify his story,” the statement said, via the OC Register.
We reached out to Jackson’s agent to see whether there was talk about Jackson being involved with the UCLA basketball program in any capacity. I can’t believe that Simers made up a story out of thin air if there wasn’t at least some talks between Jackson and Guerrero, even if Simers’ story embellished (and we do know he enjoys tweaking Jackson). UCLA probably would have been better off getting Jackson’s assistance rather than hiring Alford.
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