Alford Was UCLA's Third Choice; Bruin AD Still Calls It a 'Perfect Fit'
Share this article
When the Commies do this, it's propaganda.
Over here, it's spin.
So Steve Alford slides out of his newly-signed 10-year extension at the University of New Mexico to take the head coaching job at UCLA. That's the nature of the business. Bigger market. Traditional progam. Higher profile conference.
This all makes sense to the modern-day college hoops fan, who is far from stupid.
But this does not: UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero calling Alford "the perfect fit for our program."
Really? Then why wasn't he the first choice?
Is the sporting public supposed to forget that the Bruins made strong overtures to VCU's Shaka Smart and Butler's Brad Stevens, only to be rebuffed with extreme prejudice? Doesn't a quote like that rekindle memories that Guerrero said similar things when he hired golden boy Rick Neuheisel as UCLA's football coach -- not to mention Karl Dorrell -- before finally catching a break and backing into Jim Mora Jr?
Given the legacy of John Wooden, there may never be a perfect fit for the UCLA basketball program. Why even go there? Carpetbagger Larry Brown won an NCAA title at Westwood. Taskmaster Ben Howland at least got Steve Lavin's players and pipeline to a few Final Fours. And the program has long since lost its stature as the gold standard for college basketball. Both Smart and Stevens -- whose programs can rely much more on four-year players -- are testaments to that.
In fact, call them the New Testament of college hoops. Don't mess with happy.
Truth be told, this saves UNM a pile of unspent dosh. Craig Neal, the associate head coach under Alford, has just been elevated to 'interim head coach' status; as a finalist for the Geogia Tech job, his alma mater, he's odds-on to remove the 'interim' tag soon. And he won't command the cash that Alford did.
Given the Lobos' fan-base backlash to Alford's charges getting dumped out of the Dance by Harvard -- Harvard! -- there's probably little remorse at the transistion. Even an Albuquerque beat reporter resigned his position after that defeat! It doesn't seem like there are any perfect fits in New Mexico, either.
That's Old Testament. No spin required.