UCLA basketball finally parted ways with their underachieving coach, which has set off multiple ignorant remarks about the program, especially when it comes to the status of the head coaching position.
The UCLA basketball program finally did what it needed to do and fired Steve Alford. Because of that, it has set off a series of talking heads which have given their opinions about the program that are not exactly true.
First off, the head coaching position at UCLA is still one of the best in the country, do not let anyone fool you. Just because the program has not sustained the success of John Wooden and have not won a championship in 24 years does not take away from the fact that it is one of the most highly coveted jobs in college basketball.
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Yet journalists, both local and national, have their own personal take on the job which is far from the truth.
Dan Wolken of USA Today has questioned whether the job is still one of the best in college basketball. Bill Plaschke of the LA Times expands on those beliefs in an article he wrote on Tuesday where he makes several claims that are simply not true or unresearched. The interesting thing is that he could have easily found the answers he was looking for as UCLA is right in his own backyard.
Plascke claims that UCLA “cares more about football” (firing Steve Alford midseason seems to counter that), they “don’t have the amenities of Kansas or Kentucky” (UCLA just spent millions of dollars on the renovation of Pauley Pavilion and the construction of the Mo Ostin Center), they “don’t have national exposure” (blame the Pac-12, not UCLA), and so on.
But it seems that Plaschke avoids (or doesn’t look into) information that is right in front of him. In claiming UCLA cares more about football, he states AD Dan Guerrero took a big swing in hiring Chip Kelly with the help of big booster Casey Wasserman. He does not write about how Wasserman stepped in to help start the process for terminating Alford.
Now, this is not an attack on Plaschke, I am just pointing out how a lot of what he wrote is untrue, unresearched and/or might be part of an agenda. Either way, it counters what is really going on in Westwood.
Do you want to know the truth about UCLA? Read the article by Tracy Pierson of Bruin Report Online who nails every detail about what the Athletic Department was and now is. Though simplified, he is spot on when he states that, “this is not the UCLA of even just six years ago” meaning that the penny-pinching mentality of UCLA is gone and a new dawn is here in which the AD will do whatever it takes to bring in the best.
UCLA is evolving because that is what fans and boosters are requesting, especially with the basketball program. It is true that the athletic department showed a dedication to the football program and wanted to make it competitive with many programs around the country.
The same is now true for hoops. Firing Alford was long overdo and the Bruin brass showed their metaphorical brass in doing so. They are showing that UCLA is a place that is dedicated to winning. They are showing that they are not going to play second fiddle anymore. They are showing why UCLA should also be at the top.
The perception that many pundits are making was true… years ago. It is not the case now, but I digress.
The UCLA basketball head coaching position is still one of the best in the nation. From a competitive salary to amenities to facilities to resources to recruiting pools to geography… you can’t get a better job than this. The only thing UCLA needs now is a coach that can raise them back to the level of prominence that John Wooden started.