Steve Alford will be staying at UCLA and will not be a candidate for the open Indiana basketball coaching position, his representative told Peegs.com late Friday night.
Alford’s comments made Friday night represent a decision and not just what the former IU All-American was feeling after a Sweet Sixteen loss, his representative, Mike Barnett, told Peegs.com.
An All-American shooting guard on IU’s 1987 national championship team, Alford had been prominently mentioned and was receiving meaningful support from some key boosters, but nothing had reached the deal-making stage with Indiana.
“I am absolutely 100 percent not going to Indiana. Staying at UCLA. I am happy. Love it here. Have a great class coming in, and brand-new practice facility. Obviously, I love my alma mater. Committed to UCLA. I am not going to talk to Indiana. I am staying a Bruin,” Alford told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.
Alford’s 2017 recruiting class is ranked No. 2 in the nation by Scout.com and includes Indianapolis North Central McDonald’s All-American Kris Wilkes.
An Indiana Mr. Basketball from New Castle, Alford also addressed the issue after UCLA’s 86-75 loss to Kentucky in Memphis.
“I talked about that last week. Our guys have been very focused. I've been very focused. I said it last week, and I'll reiterate it again even more so, I guess, that I love Los Angeles,” Alford said.
“To begin with, it's a beautiful place, and our family has fallen in love with it. I've got two sons now, Kory first and now Bryce, that have graduated. Bryce is done, so he's graduating from UCLA, so I've got two sons that are graduates from there, a daughter that loves the school she's going to in Thousand Oaks.
“I'm very happy. I'm at UCLA. I don't know of a lot of people that are out there wanting to leave UCLA.
“This is a pretty special place. We've worked awfully hard. Our staff has worked hard. We've got the No. 2 recruiting class coming in next year. We're opening a brand-new, state-of-the-art, 60-plus million practice facility, Mo Ostin Center, that is going to be spectacular that we've worked awfully hard to be a part of that, and I want to see that through, and we've got some special kids that are coming to join us.
“I'm very, very happy where I'm at, and hopefully that'll continue.”
Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said when announcing Tom Crean’s firing on March 16 that IU ties and in-state ties are significant factors in searching for the next coach.
That led to immediate speculation about Alford.
“To me, IU ties is a double-check plus … being from the state of Indiana is a double-check plus … collegiate head coaching experience is a plus,” Glass said.
Those are not requirements, however, Glass said.
“It’s an open search. I don’t have somebody in the bag,” Glass said, later adding “we don’t have a wink and nod from somebody.”
Alford, IU’s all-time leading scorer at the time he graduated — a mark later broken by Calbert Cheaney — his 551-279 as a head coaching, including four years at Division III Manchester College, which lost a national title game to Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin-Platteville squad.
Alford’s 551 wins in NCAA basketball are the most by any coach 52 or younger. He and Mike Krzyzewski are the only coaches to have a No. 1 ranked defense and No. 1 ranked offense in various years in the KenPom statistical era.
After playing in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings, Alford coached Manchester, Southwest Missouri State, Iowa, New Mexico and UCLA.