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UCLA fires basketball coach Steve Alford after five-plus seasons

Tom Schad
USA TODAY

Steve Alford has been fired by UCLA midway through his sixth season, the school confirmed Monday.

The move came two days after the Bruins lost at home to Liberty, their fourth consecutive defeat. Assistant Murry Bartow will be the interim coach through the end of the season, according to the school.

"Throughout my career as an athletic director, I have maintained a belief that making a head coaching change during a season is rarely in the best interests of our student-athletes or program," athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. "In this case, however, it is now clear to me that what is best for our current students and for the overall good of the program, is to make this change now."

File-This Dec. 22, 2018, file photo shows UCLA head coach Steve Alford and his players watching during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State, in the fifth annual CBS Sports Classic, in Chicago.  Alford has been fired as UCLA basketball coach after six seasons, with the Bruins mired in a four-game skid that included losses at home to Belmont and Liberty. Athletic director Dan Guerrero said Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, that assistant Murry Bartow will serve as interim coach through the end of the season. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

Alford, 54, leaves UCLA with a 124-63 record in five-plus seasons at the school. He led the Bruins to the NCAA tournament in four of his five full seasons in Los Angeles, including three trips to the Sweet 16, but failed to engineer a deep tournament run.

For a storied program with 18 Final Four appearances in the past 56 years, it just wasn't good enough.

Alford's departure comes in the wake of a four-game skid that has included home losses to Belmont and Liberty and a 29-point shellacking at the hands of Cincinnati on Dec. 19. UCLA's 73-58 loss to the Flames on Saturday appeared to be the final straw. The Bruins shot just 39 percent from the floor and committed 24 turnovers in the game.

"I guess we'll have to watch the tape and see exactly where those issues are," Alford told reporters after the game. "How we dribble, how we pass, how we catch. It's seventh-grade stuff, but we have to go back to some drills I used to do as a player in middle school."

Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers, who was a member of the Bruins' 1995 national championship team, will assist UCLA in the search for Alford's replacement, according to the school.

The Bruins are 7-6 and will host Stanford on Thursday.

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.