Nevada moved quickly to replace one big-name coach with another.
Nevada hired former UCLA coach Steve Alford on Thursday, four days after Eric Musselman left for Arkansas.
Alford is expected to be introduced at a Friday news conference
“There is no better coach than Steve Alford to continue the rise of Nevada basketball and we are excited for the next chapter,” Nevada athletic director Doug Knuth said in a statement. “To get a leader of Coach Alford’s caliber is a testament to the support of our community and our University. There is a great tradition of Wolf Pack basketball and the future is even brighter.”
Musselman built up the Wolf Pack in four seasons, leading them to the NCAA Tournament three straight years before leaving for the SEC and the Razorbacks.
Alford returns to the Mountain West Conference, where he had some of his biggest successes. He spent six seasons at New Mexico, leading the Lobos to the NCAA Tournament three times, including a trip to the third round in 2012. Alford went 155-52 at New Mexico.
Nevada lost in the first round of this year’s NCAA Tournament and will have a massive roster turnover with seven seniors leaving, including the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline.
“To be able to continue my career in a tight-knit community that has demonstrated its support for the basketball program is exactly the opportunity that Tanya and I were looking for, and we are thrilled to be in Northern Nevada,” Alford said. “I can’t wait to get to work as we look to build off the established tradition and momentum of this great program. I want this to be the last stop of my coaching career.”
Alford had some early success at UCLA, leading the Bruins to the Sweet 16 three times his first four seasons. UCLA lost in the First Four in 2018 and struggled last season before Alford was fired on New Year’s Eve and replaced by interim coach Murray Bartow. Alford was 124-63 at Westwood.
Alford also coach at Iowa and Missouri State after a stellar collegiate career at Indiana and four NBA seasons. He has coached teams to the NCAA Tournament 10 times in 20 years as a head coach, but never to the Elite Eight.