UCLA Fires Steve Alford, Short List of Replacements Emerges

UCLA has decided to part ways with Steve Alford, a source close to the situation told Stadium.

The news was first reported by Seth Davis of The Athletic late Sunday night.

The Bruins have lost four consecutive games — including a home setback to Liberty on Saturday — to where the administration felt as though it was best to make a move prior to Pac-12 play.

Alford, 54, was hired in 2013 after a six-year stint at New Mexico. The former Indiana University standout did take the Bruins to the NCAA tournament in four of his five seasons at the helm, and a trio of Sweet 16 appearances, but last year the program barely made it into the field and this season has been a train wreck.

UCLA is 7-6, but the recent slide forced a move to be made. There was a home loss to Belmont, then a 29-point loss at Cincinnati followed by a 80-66 setback to Ohio State in Chicago last week and finally the 73-58 loss to Liberty at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday.

“The players quit on him,” one source close to the UCLA program told Stadium.

UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero, who hired Alford in 2013, basically had no choice but to make a move. The boosters wanted a change, the fan base had turned on Alford — especially with the lack of effort from the players for much of this season.

Now it’ll be interesting to see where UCLA turns. Several names have been mentioned — including that of former Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg — who was recently fired by the Chicago Bulls. Another former NBA coach, Earl Watson, is unemployed and is a UCLA alum. Sources told Stadium that Virginia’s Tony Bennett and Notre Dame’s Mike Brey are on a short list, and another name that intrigues some of those who have Guerrero’s ear are Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley. Oklahoma City Thunder’s Billy Donovan is a long shot, especially since he was recently given an extension and OKC is currently the third seed in the Western Conference.