Steve Alford hails from the New Mexico Lobos but is no stranger to UCLA, having won a gold medal as a player for the USA in the 1984 Olympic Games, at the Forum. Mario Solis reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on March 30, 2013.
UCLA has hired New Mexico's Steve Alford as its new head basketball coach, the school announced on Saturday.
UCLA Athletics Director Dan Guerrero said Alford will become the Bruins' 13th head basketball coach after the firing of Ben Howland.
The Lobos coach will break his brand-new 10-year contract in Albuquerque.
UNM was to pay him about $2 million per year.
Alford is no stranger to UCLA, having won a gold medal as a player for the USA in the 1984 Olympic Games, at the Forum.
His team stayed at the Olympic Village at the UCLA campus in Brentwood.
"Steve is the perfect fit for UCLA," Guerrero said in a press release. "He is part of the storied history of the game of college basketball and understands the tradition and uniqueness of UCLA."
UCLA reportedly had been turned down by two other potential coaches, before Alford said yes.
New Mexico had a 29-6 record this year, and won the Mountain West season and tournament titles.
He has coached collegiate basketball for 22 years.
Alford has taken the Lobos to postseason appearances in all six of his years at New Mexico, including three trips to the NCAA finals. Before that, he took Iowa to a 25-9 record and Big Ten tournament title.
And during his college career at Indiana, Alford played for Bobby Knight and then played for four years in the NBA. He replaces Howland, who was fired Sunday, two days after the Bruins lost to Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
During his decade coaching UCLA, Howland compiled a 233-107 record, with seven NCAA tournament berths. That included a string of three consecutive Final Four appearances in the 2006 through 2008 seasons.
Alford was to discuss his new job at a midday phone conference with reporters, and then arrive in Brentwood by Tuesday, the school said.