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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

UCLA fires Steve Alford day after home loss to Liberty

Steve Alford UCLA

The disappointing era of UCLA Bruins basketball under Steve Alford has finally come to an end.

Alford has been fired by UCLA, with an official announcement set to come on Monday, according to both The Athletic’s Seth Davis and Bruin Report Online.

Bruin Report Online’s Tracy Pierson says the school and Alford spent much of the day on Sunday negotiating the coach’s buyout before reaching an agreement.

Alford was in his sixth season on the job and in the middle of an ugly four-game losing streak that was bookended by home losses to Belmont and Liberty. The latter came on Saturday, a day before Alford was fired. The Bruins are 7-6 and have suffered blowout losses to North Carolina, Michigan State, Cincinnati and Ohio State, in addition to the defeats to Belmont and Liberty.

Alford pretty much lived up to exactly what he had shown himself to be during previous stints — a coach who would win a good amount in the regular season and not go far in the tournament. He never advanced past the second round of the tourney while at New Mexico, and he peaked at the Sweet 16 at UCLA. His stint with the Bruins included one losing season and a collective .663 winning percentage — far below the standards and expectations at UCLA.

Back when Alford was hired in March, 2013 by UCLA, I said he was a downgrade from Ben Howland and not in the same class as Dana Altman or Sean Miller. Nearly six years later, all of that was proven to be correct. There is huge pressure on the program to get the next hire right, especially with the football program also being in the tank.

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