3 worst head coach hires in UCLA basketball history

The UCLA basketball program is defined by one legendary head coach, but FanSided NCAA staff writer Josh Yourish ranks the three worst head coaches in Bruins history.

UCLA Bruins head coach Steve Alford
UCLA Bruins head coach Steve Alford / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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Record: 61-23. player. Larry Farmer. Larry Farmer. . . 1981-84. Larry Farmer. 1. 518

After Wooden retired, UCLA became infatuated with first-time head coaches. Bartow and Cunningham were both first-timers, and so was Larry Brown would followed Cunningham for two seasons before taking the Kansas job. Then came Larry Farmer, the man who finally plunged UCLA into the college basketball depths with his arrival in 1981. 

Brown left a parting gift for UCLA, an NCAA sanction, prohibiting the team from postseason play in 1982, Farmer’s first year. However, in the 1982-83 season, Farmer won the regular season conference title before falling to Utah in the Round of 32 after getting a bye as a No. 2 seed. 

After two years, Farmer was 44-12 but had yet to win a postseason game. Things took a turn for the worse in the 1983-84 season as UCLA went 17-11, the program’s first year with less than 20 wins since 1965, a down year under Wooden. 

Farmer did have Reggie Miller ready to play the next year after sitting out his freshman season, but when the school forced Walt Hazzard on as an assistant coach, Farmer quit and took the head job at Weber State where he went 34-54. He then coached at Loyola Chicago from 1998-2004, going 71-102. Even with all the winning, he was afforded by simply being the head coach at UCLA, Farmer’s career record is 166-176.

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