Thanks for the email and copy of the online petition regarding UCLA men’s basketball.
It’s clear from what you’ve written that you, and those who participated in the petition, are passionate about UCLA Athletics and care deeply about our past, present and future. Without this passion and support, we wouldn’t be able to sustain the athletic and academic excellence you and others have come to expect from us; and make no mistake, we welcome these expectations. It’s this kind of passion that allows UCLA to compete for championships across all of our sports on a yearly basis. The bar’s been set high around here. And believe me, our coaches and student-athletes know this…it’s why they came here in the first place.
In regard to the petition, I do have a few thoughts I’d like to share with you…
Quite frankly, this has been a disappointing season, especially in conference play, for all involved. There are no two ways around that. Nobody wants to win more than I do – and I know Coach Alford is the same way, as are the young men in that locker room. Remember, this coaching staff and many of these young men know what it’s like to win a Pac-12 Tournament Championship. They know what it’s like to advance to the Sweet 16 (some of them twice). We entered the year having only lost two games at Pauley over the last two seasons, and we hoped to build upon all of these successes. And now, looking back at our season, victories over #1 Kentucky and #7 Arizona in front of fantastic capacity crowds at Pauley Pavilion – not to mention a big win at #20 Gonzaga in a very hostile environment – make the frustration all the more palpable.
Progress, unfortunately, is not always a straight line.
Like I do with all our coaches, after every season, win or lose, I’ll sit down with Coach Alford to review the year that was. Together, we’ll consider what we must do to improve. And make no mistake, we must improve. We must get better. We all know that we need to be moving forward as a program. And with an impressive recruiting class coming to Westwood next year, Coach Alford will have both talent and experience on the floor – we are moving forward.
What can be easy to lose sight of is the fact that I love UCLA as much as anyone. This isn’t just a job. It’s my life. As a little kid down in Wilmington, I dreamed of following in Jackie Robinson’s footsteps. And because I love this place, I share your frustration and respect your concerns. I know how much everyone on that petition loves this place too.
Rest assured, at the end of the day, I have, and always will, act in the best interests of UCLA.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and for supporting UCLA Athletics.