UCLA's Alford not talking Indiana job
UCLA coach Steve Alford guided the Bruins to the Sweet 16 but before the South Region semifinal against Kentucky, media are mostly interested in talking about Indiana.
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Alford, reportedly the prime candidate to replace Tom Crean as head coach of the Hoosiers at his alma mater, would not discuss a published report that he was offered a seven-year, $31 million contract.
"I don't have anything else to say on that," Alford said Sunday night after the Bruins held off Cincinnati to set up a rematch with Kentucky on Friday in Memphis. "I've already addressed that matter and I'm not going to address it anymore."
Alford did allow that speculation he could return to the Hoosiers is natural, but said "I love UCLA. I love Los Angeles" without directly denying interest or potential interest in being in Bloomington, Ind., in the near future.
Alford played for Bobby Knight at Indiana and was on the 1987 national championship team. A homegrown talent, Alford would be a popular hire for the Hoosiers, and after the Bruins hit the Sweet 16 for the third time in four seasons under Alford, he has leverage.
"I was part of that. I stood on stage with a great group of guys and won a national championship," Alford said last week. "It's my home state. I played there. So obviously all that comes up, but I love UCLA."
Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said he would use a search firm to coordinate and help execute the process of hiring Crean's replacement.
"I think this is one of the best jobs in college basketball," Glass said.
From an ex-coach's perspective, former Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg said on ESPN Radio that Alford should return to Indiana as soon as the tournament ends.
"I think he will do great, because he will be able to recruit the state of Indiana. He can really coach offense and he's the right fit," Greenberg said. "When you think of Indiana basketball, you think of Coach Knight. And you think about great defensive teams. You think of great ball movement, low turnover teams. Tom's teams were really good, but they were not great defensively, and they turned it over some. Everyone gets compared to Knight no matter what. He was the anti-Knight."