Reasons not to fire Alford:
1. It’s true that Alford’s buyout is a very reasonable $6.4 million, but keep in mind that UCLA will be on the hook to pay the buyout of whomever they hire, if that coach is currently employed somewhere, and that could run as high as $20 million. Additionally, the donors just ponied up for Jim Mora’s $12 million buyout a few months ago, not to mention the $35 million Mo Ostin Center and $65 million Wasserman Center that were both donor funded over the last year.
The administration may opt to give the donors a break before hitting them up for another coaching change – not to mention that Alford’s buyout will drop further as time goes on (provided Guerrero stops handing out extensions every time we make the tournament).
2. A big factor in the decision to fire Jim Mora when they did was the availability and interest of Chip Kelly. The administration knew they had to move quickly if they wanted to capitalize on the chance to grab an elite coach before he went somewhere else, like Florida. There was a time, earlier this year, when the prospect of the Oklahoma City Thunder missing the playoffs fueled rumors of Billy Donovan wanting to return to the college game. That was a name that would have prompted a coaching change. But as that prospect has become less likely, there doesn’t appear to be another obvious name out there that would prompt the administration to jump.
Dan Hurley from Rhode Island just signed with UConn. Chris Mack of Xavier is affordable, but he’s a Xavier alumnus, so who knows if he’d even want to leave – besides again, Louisville has let it be known that they’re interested in pursuing Mack, and they’re right down the road.
No, the most eligible candidate, as far as I can tell, is Eric Musselman of Nevada, but I’m not exactly sure what makes him that much more qualified than Alford was when we hired him: offensive-minded Mountain West coach without a signature success anywhere on his resume. Not having a replacement lined up doesn’t preclude UCLA from making a change, but it makes it that much easier to hold off if there are other concerns.