Steve Alford called Saturday’s 15-point loss to Liberty “one of the most disappointing games” he’s had in his 28-year coaching career. It may be the coach’s final undoing at UCLA.
According to multiple reports, UCLA will fire their sixth-year head coach in the midst of a four-game losing streak that dropped the Bruins to 7-6 at the end of nonconference play. An announcement could come by Monday, according to reports from Scott Bilo, The Athletic and Bruin Report Online.
The Bruins, who lost to Belmont, Cincinnati, Ohio State and Liberty during a two-week span, are on their longest losing skid since the 2015-16 season, when they finished 15-17, UCLA’s first losing season since it hired John Wooden in 1948.
Alford returned a 2014 contract extension following that disappointing season. The following year, he coached UCLA to its third Sweet 16 in four years with fantastic freshmen Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf leading one of the top offensive teams in the country.
The brief success led to Alford receiving the extension he returned, which put him under contract through the 2020-21 season.
Since then, the Bruins have a 28-18 record, had players who were involved in a shoplifting scandal that made international headlines and lost an NCAA play-in game to St. Bonaventure. Despite questions about Alford’s job security swirling, UCLA still pulled in another top recruiting class this season, led by five-star 7-foot-1 center Moses Brown, but have struggled without a clear, experienced leader.
UCLA has three former McDonald’s All-Americans with Brown and sophomores Jaylen Hands and Kris Wilkes, but have lost each of their past three games by double digits since a narrow two-point defeat against Belmont on Dec. 15.
The Bruins start conference play Thursday at 8 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion against Stanford.
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