Twitter just exploded with the news that the UCLA Bruins have hired Steve Alford away from New Mexico. Steve Alford is not an upgrade over the just fired Ben Howland. Alford went to one sweet sixteen, 14 years and three jobs ago. Alford hasn’t advanced past the round-of-32 in his last 6 NCAA Tournaments, compiling a tourney record of just 5-7.
And Steve Alford had just “agreed” to a 10 year, $20 million contract extension with the Lobos ten days ago.
“We’ve really started to put our imprint on the program,” Alford told the media.
So either contract extensions mean nothing, or the word of Steve Alford means nothing or the contract extensions of Steve Alford mean nothing. His buyout was “just” one million. However, as bad as Steve Alford is at coaching during March madness, he’s a much worse human being.
During his time leading the Iowa Hawkeyes, Alford was basically a sympathizer for committing sexual assault. Alford tried to make himself, the Hawkeyes program, and his player who committed the act, Pierre Pierce the victim. Even though there was an actual victim in that situation- the young woman Pierre Pierce sexually assaulted.
If you search for Steve Alford on this topic/situation today, you’ll find that he has said nothing good recently about Pierre Pierce. He has distanced himself from Pierce like a PR pro’s pro. However, at the time he was in Iowa City, he was all about defending Pierce at all costs. CBS Chicago’s Dan Bernstein posted a MUST READ blog for all UCLA fans. It extensively details Alford’s role in the Pierce sexual assault case.
Steve Alford kept losing on the court, and was eventually forced to “resign” his post at Iowa. So although he may have been a hero as a player with the Indiana Hoosiers, he is a punchline at another Big Ten school. And I know some smart Hoosiers fans- they find Alford to be just as much a disgusting, horrible human being as I find him to be.
This is a dark day in Westwood.
This could potentially become a PR nightmare for UCLA. Like Alexandra Wallace, the student/part-time bikini model who posted her anti-Asian bigotry on YouTube in the wake of the 2011 Japanese Tsunami.
The Bruins are college hoops blue blood, literally and figuratively. (Coincidentally, almost all the college basketball blue blood programs actually wear blue: UCLA, Duke, Jayhawks, Tar Heels, Kentucky Wildcats) The UCLA fight song is the Mozart Symphony #40 of college basketball. Expectations are always sky high in Los Angeles. 11 National titles and 45 NCAA Tournament appearances will do that to you. Expectations were high in the coaching search; instead they got Steve Alford.
Bringing in a proven big dance loser like Steve Alford disgraces John Wooden, the UCLA program and Bruins everywhere. Granting Steve Alford the human being yet another step up the career ladder disgraces human decency.
Oh, and if this news commentary is too much of a buzz kill for you- lighten the mood by viewing our UCLA Cheerleader and Dance Team photo gallery.
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an author and regular contributor to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker. Banks has appeared on Comcast SportsNet and the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks)Follow paulmbanks