UCLA has reportedly found its replacement for former coach Ben Howland.
According to Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com, the Bruins have come to an agreement with New Mexico coach Steve Alford on a seven-year contract worth $2.6 million per year.
Alford led New Mexico to both a Mountain West regular season and conference tournament title in 2012-13. The Lobos finished with a 29-6 record on the year after losing to No. 14-seeded Harvard in the Round of 64 of the NCAA tournament.
For his efforts, Alford signed a contract extension on March 20 that was set to keep him with New Mexico through the 2023 season. That contract was due to begin April 1, but now seems to be no more.
The report from CBS Sports also says UCLA will pay his buyout from New Mexico. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the buyout in his old deal is less than $200,000, while the new contract that was planned to take effect April 1 has a buyout of $1 million.
“We want him to be here at the University of New Mexico a long time,” New Mexico athletic director Paul Krebs said at the time Alford signed with UNM just over a week ago. “Steve’s done a tremendous job — not only in wins and losses, but in graduation rate, presence in community, the good will. Look at all the national publicity about the program we’ve been receiving and he’s been a very good representative of this university in this time.”
New Mexico is now in need of a head coach and whoever they pursue will have a number of assets built into the program, among them a team that will return nearly every key piece other than Tony Snell and a strong tradition with a loyal base of fans.