Steve Alford, fresh off leading New Mexico to a three seed – and subsequent early exit – in the NCAA Tournament, is UCLA’s new basketball coach, replacing the fired Ben Howland. Reaction to the hire was mixed – Alford obviously has experience out west and did win a lot of games at UNM, but he also lost a lot of games in the early rounds of the NCAAs, and his years at New Mexico followed an eight-year Iowa tenure that was rocky both on and off the court.
Ultimately, though, UCLA probably wasn’t going to do much better than Alford, so rather than speculate on how he’ll do with the Bruins, we’d instead like to look back at one of his last acts as New Mexico coach, something he did 10 days ago: signing a 10-year, $20 million contract extension (hey, 10 days, 10 years, what’s the big difference there?). Specifically, we’d like to point and laugh at a few choice parts of the school’s press release announcing the deal. Like the subhead:
New contract will keep Alford in Cherry and Silver through 2022-23
“This is a great era in Lobo Basketball, and that is due to the leadership of Coach Alford” said [UNM VP of Athletics Paul] Krebs. “We want to ensure that Steve Alford is our coach for the foreseeable future, and this contract does just that.”
“I have said from our first game in The Pit that this was a special place and that it was a tremendous honor to be the head basketball coach at the University of New Mexico. Now six years in, we have built a top 25 program on and off the court,” said Alford. “There is no other place I would rather coach than at UNM, representing the best fans in the country.”
Seriously, though, UCLA: we wish you’d thought outside the box a little more during your hiring process.