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NCAA Basketball Mountain West BasketballNew Mexico LobosPac 12 BasketballUCLA Bruins

Steve Alford Turns Back to New Mexico, Takes UCLA Job

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The newest head coach of the UCLA Bruins may be a surprise, but now-former New Mexico head coach Steve Alford has reportedly been hired to replace Ben Howland, as reported by ESPN.

I say this hire comes as a surprise because about a week ago, Alford was talking about how the Mountain West was on the rise and he wanted to continue that. He took his No. 3 seed Lobos to the tournament as hot as anyone, but were beaten in the first round by a tough Harvard team.

Following the loss, Alford signed a ten year deal with New Mexico that added up to about $2 million per year. Yet another reason why his recent hiring as the new Bruins’ coach was so shocking.

Alford led the Lobos to three tournaments in four seasons and a 29-win year, the second-best win total in school history.

His 155 wins at New Mexico in six years is an impressive mark, becoming the only coach in the school’s history to win at least 22 games in each of his first six seasons.

This is a great hire by UCLA as the former Iowa and New Mexico coach has a wealth of experience and that’s exactly what the Bruins need. Howland had a tough time keeping his team under control and at times looked lost with the amount of talent that he had accrued at UCLA.

If the program is looking to take a step in the right direction, which it seems like they are, then this hire was perfect for the program and the future.

Connor Muldowney is a College Football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.