Saturday, March 12, 2016

The way it goes-Steve Alford

While watching the rise and fall of January's team The Iowa Hawkeyes, out in UCLA Bruin land, UCLA stumbled to a 15-17 record and a very bad loss to USC 95-71, they are calling for Steve Alford's head and Bruin nation thinking of doing a Go Fund Me to raise the 10.4 million buyout of Alford's contract.  Alford seems to wear out his welcome.  At Iowa, he was the mistake Bob Bowlsby hired after riding Tom Davis out on a rail, to which Iowa gave Tom a nice sendoff by finishing in the Sweet 16 in the NCAAs.  Alford has been hated even as a coach, at one time he was Bobby Knight's star pupil on the Indiana squad, won a NCAA title, had a so so NBA career and became coach of Missouri State before Bowlsby came calling.  Outside of a 14-16 debut, Alford's hawks managed to keep above 500, but they did win the B1G Ten Tournaments twice.  Alas, the best Iowa team of 2005-2006 (ten years ago) they were 25-8, winning the last B1G Ten tournament for the last time, only to get upended by some team called Northwestern State 64-63.  Which Iowa Nation eventually ran him out of town after the next season, and he became a basketball legend at New Mexico before UCLA came calling and stole him away from Albuquerque.  The last two seasons UCLA did win 2 games before being eliminated, one by Florida, next season by Gonzaga and there was hopes this season would continue or even go further.  But this year, UCLA looked even worse than Iowa did on most occasions, And USC swept all three games for the first time in 74 years, unacceptable to Bruins Nation and not only SC beat them, they blew them off the court.  For the first time, no Bruins player made the first or second team but Bryce Alford got honorable mention. Bruins Nation was not impressed, they called the honorable mention Daddy Ball.  If anything they swept Arizona State, a team that was in turmoil most the season and broke even with Arizona, Washington State and Oregon State.  But Oregon and Washington joined USC in sweeping  UCLA and not even making any playoffs has Bruins Nation forming at the mouth to finally get rid of the Bobby Knight's star pupil, even if it means making Alford 10 million dollars richer.  Even though Alford did get UCLA to two sweet 16s the past two, the what have you done for me lately comes to mind and fans want him gone.

It hasn't been a love affair since AD Dan Guerrero picked Alford to replaced the previous coach.  UCLA is a blue blood basketball team, started by the late great John Wooden who is turning over in his grave a few more times. Bruins Nation was not impressed from day one, even though UCLA did well in the first two years, this year nothing came together, and it started off with a overtime loss to Monmouth College, but UCLA managed to pop up briefly in the top 25 before going to Seattle and Pullman and losing both games.  They rebounded with two wins against Arizona and ASU before USC started the first of three blowouts. Then going 500 before a five game losing streak happened and the quick exit in the Pac 12 tourney.

My feeling: somebody has gotta go at UCLA and it will probably be Guerrero first before Alford. Alford was smart to draw up a high buyout should things not go his way.  History has shown that Alford does bounce back after a so so year or even a disaster of a year.  If it anybody else UCLA would have shown them the door right then and there after that USC sweep.  Certainly, some assistants will be let go, there's might be the possibility of Craig Neal, falling out of favor at New Mexico may rejoin Alford somewhere down the road. Neal is facing backlash of his own brand of Daddy ball with his son playing guard and New Mexico going one and done in the Mountain West Tourney.

I'm sure there'll be updates as soon as they come pouring in, but the coaching ways of Steve Alford always does polarize the fans of the teams that he does coach be it Iowa, New Mexico and now UCLA. But unlike Iowa or New Mexico, UCLA is the giant stage and Bruins Nation expect the best each and every year. John Wooden would see to that. If Alford survives the axe, he better recruit and turn this team around to a final four next year.  If he stumbles like he did next season, he will be gone.

You can read the hate and discontent over here at this link:


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