The UCLA men’s basketball team has decided to part ways with six-year head coach Steve Alford on Monday. Alford’s firing comes on the heels of a home blowout 73-58 loss to Liberty in which the Bruins turned the ball over 24 times on Saturday. The loss drops the Bruins to 7-6 on the season as they open up Pac-12 League play on Thursday against Stanford.
Since Alford took over the Bruins program in 2013, signing a seven-year $18.2 million contract, the men’s basketball team has a 124-63 record over the span, ending his career with a winning percentage of 66 percent. Alford also won a Pac-12 tournament title and made four trips to the NCAA tournament.
“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,” Alford said in a statement issued by the school. “While I wish we could have had more success, my family and I are so grateful for our time in Westwood. We wish the 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.”
Assistant coach Murray Bartow will take over as the interim coach for the rest of the season while UCLA searches for a permanent replacement for Alford. Bartow has some previous coaching experience, serving as the head coach at Alabama-Birmingham from 1996-2002, compiling a 103-83 record over the six seasons. Bartow was in his first season as an assistant under Alford and served as interim head coach at the University of South Florida during the 2016-17 season.
The Bruins are expected to begin the search for a replacement immediately with former NBA coaches Fred Hoiberg (Chicago Bulls), who also held the head coach position at Iowa State, and UCLA alumnus Earl Watson (Phoenix Suns). College coaches Tony Bennett (Virginia), Mike Brey (Norte Dame), Jamie Dixon (TCU) and Bobby Hurley (Arizona State) are all expected to be in the mix for the position, as well.