Steve Alford hired as UCLA head basketball coach

Streeter Lecka

The Bruins found their man, and he's the head coach of another program that lost in its NCAA Tournament opener.

The UCLA Bruins have found their newest men's basketball coach. CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman reported Saturday morning that UCLA has hired New Mexico's Steve Alford. The deal is reportedly for seven years at $2.6 million annually, and UCLA will cover Alford's buyout. The school confirmed the hiring on Twitter.

Covering Alford's buyout is key considering, in the week before the No. 3 Lobos were bounced from the NCAA Tournament in the first round by No. 14 Harvard, New Mexico announced it would be extending Alford's contract for 10 years and give him a $240,000 annual raise.

While at New Mexico, Alford, 48, led the Lobos to three NCAA Tournament appearances and put them on top of an increasingly competitive Mountain West.

UCLA hopes he can replicate some of departed head coach Ben Howland's earlier success. Howland led the bruins to three consecutive Final Fours while recruiting future NBA talent like Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Darren Collison, Arron Afflalo and Luc Mbah a Moute to play. Howland and the Bruins were also bounced in their first game in the NCAA Tournament, by No. 11 Minnesota.

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