The Firing of Steve Alford


Steve Alford, head coach of the UCLA Bruins, was unceremoniously fired today (December 31, 2018). Everyone saw it coming. It’s a wonder he kept that job as long as he did. Now, the search begins and, as this article accurately states, the hard part is only now beginning.

Steve Alford was a key player in the Indiana Hoosiers winning the 1987 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. The last championship that Coach Bob Knight brought to Indiana University. I’m a Hoosier and I remember it well! Keith Smart ultimately was the hero, but it was a team effort.

Alford went on to coach at Iowa and New Mexico, before getting that sweet gig at UCLA.

Sweet gig at UCLA…

The article I linked to above does an excellent job detailing the reasons why the UCLA gig is not so sweet afterall. Indeed, the easy part of firing Alford has been accomplished. But that is not the thrust of this article.

No, the thrust of this article is how we can prosper from the mess in Westwood. You gotta know the team is in disarray. Yet, this disarray is not limited to the team and what is left of the coaching staff. As the saying goes, “the fish stinks from the head first.” Hence, the problem goes up through the Athletic Director to the President of the University to all those moneyed and “well-meaning” boosters. They all have a dog in this fight, but that does not mean they all have the same dog.

We aren’t at all worried about Alford. He got a sweet buyout and will land on his feet. Alford’s best prospects would be to find some struggling mid-major in the State of Indiana to coach back to prominence, without all the baggage the UCLA job brought with it.

The firing of Alford likely does not right the ship any time soon, and this is what matters most. There is often a little bump seen right after the firing, with teams going through this type of problem experiencing an immediate bump in the win (cover) rate. But they typically get right back to their losing ways for the rest of the season. Looking ahead, UCLA starts its PAC-12 schedule Thursday, hosting Tree (Stanford). As of this writing, no line is yet set. But I will be looking to fade UCLA.

It is easy to get caught up in the news of the day. But if you want to be an effective and winning handicapper, you must always think in the terms of what does this mean for the betting line?

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