When you are a flagship university in a major conference, you should not be like this.
I’m talking Pac 12-Conference, the school in LA, the one where there is losing and chronic unhappiness.
I could be talking about USC, where they still live in the John McKay era. in football. USC where they built a new basketball arena, still don’t win big, and don’t draw.
But I’m not talking Trojans.
I’m talking UCLA Bruins. The ones coming off a bunch of years losing in football, and now having axed another basketball coach.
UCLA, once the gutty little Bruins, are now a doormat in the Pac 12-conference.
Look where football is, though Chip Kelly may lead them to better days, but losing is still losing, and that’s all the fans have had for a couple of years. Can you imagine drawing 32,000 for home games in the Rose Bowl.
In basketball, where the glory years of John Wooden are decades and decades ago, Steve Alford has been given 3.6M to leave Pauley Pavilion. This after a siege of blowout losses, 5-of them in recent weeks, stretching from 14-to-29 point setbacks, some even at one, and some to little known teams from smaller conferences.
Who would ever think, they’d draw 7,200 fans for a home game at Pauley Pavilion this week.
A guy most thought would be a tremendous hire, a protege of Bob Knight, with a track record of decent success, Alford flames out after a great start..
Alford had that (24-5) big season, with the Lonzo Ball team. But nothing has been right since then, or since the final game of that season, where Ball and his buddies got bloodied by Kentucky and John Caliper.
Since then, all downhill.
The Bruins never recovered from the China syndrome episode last fall, when LaMelo Ball and two teammates were arrested for shoplifting in China, while on a university tour.
Suspensions, expulsions, it’s been air ball after air ball, now turnovers and losses, not a good formula with the kind of power Big Cigar boosters yield..
UCLA brought in a loaded recruiting class, and so much was expected. Two major injuries. Poor play. Blowout losses. Boosters screeching. The head coach blaming his kids.
The final press briefing had him referring to his players as a ‘bunch of 7th graders’. Doesn’t speak well of his ability to teach-grow-lead the recruits he signed.
Not a pretty picture of a name coach losing control of his team, losing his kids, losing the influential boosters.
And to think UCLA disliked a fairly successful, though conservative Ben Howland, to take this on.
So much is expected in Westwood, because of what they were 40-50 years ago, the Lew Alcindor-Bill Walton-John Wooden era.
It can’t be that way ever again. The NCAA one-and-done rule with the NBA has changed everything. Alford could not change. Maybe it’s a Bobby Knight ‘cut from the cloth’ thing.
Now changes have been made.
AD-Dan Guerrero should be in trouble too. Having to payoff Jim Mora in football, now Alford in basketball.
It’s a long road back, once you ruin a program UCLA is about to find that out.
In language those on twitter understand, “UCLA-U-R-Mess”.