A report claims that UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford is likely to remain in Westwood, though disgruntled fans are taking action with yet another banner.
This morning it was reported by 247Sports.com that UCLA basketball head coach Steve Alford will most likely be retained after his lackadaisical performance this season which ended with an embarrassing exit in the NCAA Tournament play-in game to St. Bonaventure on Tuesday.
Fans took to social media as soon as the game ended to vent their frustration and displeasure with the direction the program has been going under Alford.
Fans will be upping the ante today as they are resorting to tactics that have been prevalent over the last few years as another banner will be flown over Westwood this afternoon. Two years ago, after UCLA finished 15-17, fans raised money to fly a banner over the campus of UCLA with the message “Fire Alford’.
A similar message will be flown as today’s banner will read, “Final Fours not First Fours #FireAlford”.
Despite fan reaction, the effort could be futile as it seems that Alford will be retained. According to 247Sports’ sources, “The UCLA administration is of the mindset that it’s not a good time to make a change due to various factors, with the specter of the FBI college basketball investigation being the most prominent.”
With certain college basketball programs (and coaches) being investigated by the FBI, several programs could be shaken up in the coming year, which could lead to sanctions for many programs and coaches.
What does not make sense is UCLA using this as the primary excuse to keep a coach that has not lived up to his promise to improve the state of UCLA basketball. After that 15-17 season, Alford wrote a letter to the UCLA fan base stating that improvements will be made, especially with defense. The 2016-17 season was quite successful with Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf leading the way, but things once again slipped as UCLA went 21-12 this year and ended with an NCAA Tournament play-in exit.
The administration does not want to potentially get in trouble for hiring a coach under investigation, which is understandable. UCLA doe snot want to land a homer hire and later find out they were implicated in wrong doing and bring penalties to Westwood.
But not every coach is dirty. There are plenty of good coaches that have run clean programs and could turn UCLA around and return them to elite status, something Alford has failed to do in his five seasons.
Since he was hired, Alford has won only one Pac-12 Tournament Championship, has not won a regular season title, has not gone past the Sweet 16 and now has this year’s tournament blemish on his resume.
UCLA might be stuck between a rock and a hard place with the decision to not terminate Alford due to the FBI investigation, but until change is made, UCLA will mire in mediocrity, all the while other programs around the country flourish, despite the FBI investigation. Still, until change is made, prepare for more banners overhead.