End of the Alford Era?

ESPN's Andy Katz reported on Tuesday evening that Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden has requested and been granted permission to tentatively interview Steve Alford about the vacant Missouri position. Katz reported that Bob Bowslby had confirmed the request. The question is now this; since Indiana seeminly was not interested in Alford, and Alford is apparently considering another option other than returning to Iowa, is there any way possible he is at Iowa next year?

Late in the afternoon on Tuesday, Gregg Doyel of cbssportsline.com wrote in his online blog that since Indiana had still not contacted Steve Alford as of Tuesday afternoon, that ‘through a representative', Alford was putting out feelers for the vacant Missouri job.

"Is Missouri interested? No clue." Doyel wrote in his blog that can be read here. "Isn't it enough that I know -- and now you know -- before anyone else that Alford would consider leaving Iowa not just for Indiana, but for Missouri?"

As I was writing this item (I was three pages in and I had to scrap it and change course), ESPN's Andy Katz reported that Steve Alford will interview for the Missouri job this week. Here is the link: LINK.

He cites Bob Bowlsby as confirming that Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden contacted him about tentatively scheduling an interview with Alford, and Bowlsby granted the request.

Kansas City sportscasters Frank Boal and Len Dawson also reported this same story on Tuesday evening.

If Alford does indeed meet with Missouri, Bowlsby should be crossing his fingers that Missouri and Alford come to some decision, just to save Iowa $1.5 million dollars, the amount of money it would cost to buy out the remaining three years of Alford's contract at Iowa.

Because for all intents and purposes, the Alford era at Iowa is over, unless Katz totally fabricated the Bowlsby confirmation, which I doubt he would do.

If Alford doesn't get the Missouri job, assuming Katz's report that included Bowlsby's granting of the ‘tentative' interview, then it's time for Alford's lawyers to talk with Iowa's lawyers and negotiate a settlement; there will be no repairing the relationship between Alford and Iowa now.

Nada, zip; no chance.

I guess there is always the chance that Alford won't meet with Missouri, but I highly doubt that Alden would have contacted Iowa about Alford were there not some level of mutual interest, as Doyel reported on Tuesday afternoon.

It's mildly ironic that this information came out on the same day that Greg McDermott was hired to be the head coach at Iowa State. While Alford played out his hand with Indiana, waiting to see if they would give him a shot at his dream job, one of the top three candidates that Iowa would have likely sought to replace him decided that he could not pass up the opportunity to coach high-major Division I basketball in the state of Iowa.

McDermott's stirring speech to some fans and media that were assembled in Hilton Coliseum on Tuesday is sure to add another brick in the wall of disdain that some people feel towards Alford.

Alford's apparent decision to interview with Missouri might mean that Alford was denied a contract extension by Bob Bowlsby. It has to mean something, because Alford is not stupid. He has to know that his interviewing with Missouri, or just the perception that he would interview, means the ultimate end to his career at Iowa, doesn't he?

And what of his assistant coaches? They are out of the loop here, their jobs hanging in the wind, with Alford assured of a $1.5 million dollar parachute and no worse than a $300,000 per year career as a television analyst in his future.

It's a brazen move, to be sure, as Alford has a losing record in Big Ten conference games and his teams have bowed out of the NCAA tournament in the first round in each of their last two appearances. There can't be a very long line forming among high major programs to hire Alford away from Iowa, can there? Is this a power play to get the Indiana fan base in such an uproar that Indiana AD Rick Greenspan would feel so much pressure as to bring Alford in?

If any of these motives is close to the mark, you are talking about going all in with an off-suited deuce-seven in the hole.

Alford would certainly run a cleaner program than did Quinn Snyder at Missouri; Missouri might feel the need to drastically upgrade its image, and the speculation that Bob Huggins was on their short list was almost laughable. Even Mike Alden wouldn't do that.

Bob Bowlsby once told me that he always has a short list of coaching candidates in his drawer, just in case he needs them in a hurry.

On Tuesday, he had to draw a line through one of the likely names on that short list.

Then again, I wonder if the ink has dried on McDermott's contract in Ames? Now THAT would be some interesting drama.


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