Steve Alford might have been a bit surprised by UCLA’s berth to the NCAA Tournament this year, but the Bruins coach is still certain his team can compete. After all, that’s what he’s always expected from any of his teams.
Alford – who hit the national spotlight during his college days – has a jam-packed resume and sky-high expectations and despite a few bumps in the road, the longtime coach is determined to get UCLA back to the top of the basketball world. Here’s everything you need to know about him:
1. Alford Became the Coach at UCLA in March 2013
Alford became the Bruins’ top man on March 30, 2013 – replacing Ben Howland and signing a seven-year, $18.2 million contract. It was a surprising hire, particularly after Alford said he was glad to be signing a contract extension at New Mexico, where he’d spent the previous six seasons as head coach.
According to reports, Alford had signed a 10-year contract extension, worth more than $20 million, with the Lobos, but opted out in order to take the UCAL job. The hiring also came shortly after Butler’s Brad Stevens and Virginia Commonwealth’s Shaka Smart both reportedly turned down the job.
“This is truly a leap of faith,” Alford said after the hiring was announced. “It’s a little easier when it’s UCLA. An opportunity like this doesn’t come around every day.”
Alford, who took over as head coach in 2007, posted a 155-52 record at New Mexico and won three Mountain West Conference titles, but struggled to find success in the NCAA Tournament. He also coached Division III Manchester University, Missouri State – where he reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament – and Iowa. In his first four years with UCLA, Alford has posted a 96-45 record and, most recently, led the Bruins to the Sweet 16 in 2017.
2. His Sons, Kory & Bryce, Played for Him at UCLA
He was hoping to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Alford’s oldest son, Kory, played for him at both New Mexcio and UCLA, joining the Bruins for the 2013 season. He played in 24 games during his two seasons with the Bruins, but didn’t particularly pack his stat line. In fact, by the time he graduated in 2015, Kory averaged just under two points per game. Kory now serves as the video and analytics coordinator for the program and, per the UCLA website, “also organizes in-depth statistical data and various analytic measures for the coaching staff.”
Middle son Bryce also played for the Bruins – and drew plenty of headlines during his 141 career games. He started all 104 of UCLA’s games 2014-15 through 2016-17, averaging 13.6 career points as well as 3.8 assists and 2.8 rebounds. Bryce also set the UCLA career record for three-pointers and finished his career with the top two single-season three-point marks.
Bryce, despite his stats, was prone to criticism from just about every angle, the stereotypical “coach’s son,” but he didn’t let …read more