Steve Alford gives extension back as penance for bad season

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Instead of going back to the drawing board after a 15-17 mark and a 10th-place finish in the Pac-12, UCLA Bruins coach Steve Alford has gone about reworking his contract.

Alford, in a letter to Bruins fans and supporters, said he is returning the one-year contract extension he signed after the 2013-14 season.

"At the end of the day, year three was clearly not up to UCLA standards. My coaching staff and I fell short not only of our own expectations, but the expectations of [athletic director] Dan [Guerrero], the Chancellor and you, our fans," Alford said in the letter. "As a coaching staff, we intend to earn that extension back."

The extension was for the 2020-21 season and was signed after Alford led the program to its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2008.

"I earned an extension in our work year one, [but] didn't earn things in this season," Alford said to ESPN. "The right thing to do is give the extension back."

The announcement came after two banners seeking Alford's removal as coach flew over campus this past week.

Guerrero said he respects Alford's decision and thinks the move shows how committed the coach is to the program.

"I thought it was a strong statement to the UCLA community about Steve's commitment to this program and his belief in where we're headed," Guerrero told ESPN's Andy Katz. "It's relatively unprecedented, as far as I can tell."

UCLA went 6-12 in the Pac-12 this season and was 0-3 against crosstown rival USC. This year marked the first time since 1954 that the Bruins lost to the Trojans three times in one season.

The future in Westwood might be bright, however, as UCLA has the No. 4 recruiting class coming in next season. The class includes five-star recruits in point guardLonzo Ball and forward T.J. Leaf.