UCLA fired men’s basketball coach Steve Alford Monday, two days after a 73-58 loss to Liberty extended their losing streak to four games, and dropped their record to 7-6.
Los Angeles Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero announced that Alford has been relieved of his duties. Assistant coach Murry Bartow, who has served as a head coach at previous institutions, will serve as interim head coach through the end of the season. Bartow is a son of the late Gene Bartow, UCLA’s coach from 1975-77 and the legendary John Wooden’s successor.
“Throughout my career as an athletic director, I have maintained a belief that making a head coaching change during a season is rarely in the best interests of our student-athletes or program,” Guerrero said. “In this case, however, it is now clear to me that what is best for our current students and for the overall good of the program, is to make this change now.”
He continued: “While Steve led us to three Sweet 16 appearances, we simply have not been performing at a consistent level and our struggles up to this point in the season do not bode well for the future. On behalf of UCLA Athletics, I want to thank Steve, Tanya and the entire Alford family for their commitment to UCLA and wish them all of the best in the future.”
Alford’s existing contract will be honored by UCLA Athletics, using department-generated funds, officials said.
The 2018-19 season marked Alford’s sixth with the Bruins. During his time at UCLA, Alford compiled a 124-63 record, leading to four NCAA Tournaments and three Sweet 16 appearances (2014, 2015 and 2017). Alford produced 11 NBA Draft selections, including seven first-round picks.
Alford issued a statement regarding his time with the Bruins: “I’m extremely appreciative to everybody at UCLA for what has been a tremendous run and the chance to work with such special student-athletes and coaches. While I wish we could have had more success, my family and I are so grateful for our time in Westwood. We wish this program nothing but the best. I sincerely hope that the UCLA community will rally around this team, its players and the coaching staff as Pac-12 play begins.”
A comprehensive, national search for a new head coach will begin immediately, according to the university.
Bartow will make his debut as Bruins coach Thursday when they open Pac-12 by playing host to Stanford.