UCLA hires New Mexico’s Alford as coach

Updated: March 30, 2013, 12:18 PM ET

Steve Alford has been named the new basketball coach at UCLA, the school announced Saturday.

Alford’s departure from New Mexico was first reported by ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz.

“I have been so fortunate and blessed in my life, and an opportunity to lead the one of the greatest programs in college basketball history is once-in-a-lifetime,” said Alford, who will be introduced at news conference Tuesday. “It is an honor to be the head coach at UCLA, yet it is also a responsibility to ensure that our former, current and future players and fans are proud to be Bruins.”

The agreement comes less than two weeks after Alford had agreed to a new 10-year contract with New Mexico that reached into the $2-million-per-season range, including base salary, bonuses and incentives.

“Steve is the perfect fit for UCLA,” Bruins athletic director Dan Guerrero said. “He is part of the storied history of the game of college basketball and understands the tradition and uniqueness of UCLA. Yet he also connects with a new generation of players and brings an up-tempo and team-oriented brand of basketball to Westwood.”

The Lobos, beaten in their opener by Harvard, were in the NCAA tournament for the third time in four years, and their 29 wins this season were the second-most in school history.

New Mexico won 155 games under Alford, the only coach in school history to win 22 games in each of his first six seasons.

UCLA had tried to land Butler coach Brad Stevens, who decided to stay put despite being the Bruins’ top target.

Two former UCLA assistants and current head coaches — NC State’s Mark Gottfried and Washington’s Lorenzo Romar — had also been said to be on the Bruins’ list.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

This article was originally posted on ESPN.com