UCLA basketball has been in desperate need of a head coach. The Bruins fired former coach Steve Alford on December 31, 2018. Their long search is finally over as Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin has accepted the job. Cronin was given a six-year contract worth $24 million, according to a press release from the university.
Cronin is one of the more underrated coaches in the college game, with 365 wins at Cincinnati; second to only Bob Huggins in school history.
Now, he is ready to start a new chapter in his career.
“I am incredibly humbled and honored to become the head coach at UCLA,” Cronin said. “I’m especially grateful to Chancellor Block and to Dan Guerrero for this opportunity to join the Bruin Family. UCLA is a very special place with a strong tradition of excellence. To be able to join such a world-class institution is truly a privilege, and I can’t wait to get started in Westwood.”
The Bruins are coming off a mediocre 17-16 season in 2018-19. They have not won a Pac-12 regular season title since 2013 and have not made the Final Four since 2008. Understandably, fans want to see that drought end soon.
Cronin has taken Cincinnati to the NCAA Tournament in each of the past nine seasons. Only Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo, Mark Few, Roy Williams, and Bill Self have accomplished that feat. He has struggled to win in the NCAA Tournament, however, with only one career Sweet 16 appearance.
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero is not phased by Cronin’s lack of postseason success, believing he can help bring UCLA back to relevance.
“Mick Cronin is a fierce competitor, and I’m excited to welcome him to Westwood,” Guerrero said. “Mick has built a fantastic program at Cincinnati, backed by integrity and discipline, and he has instilled an undeniable toughness in his student-athletes. I am confident he will build this program the right way and lead UCLA basketball back to national prominence.”
Cronin has little experience recruiting the Southern California area and the Bruins have raided the region for talent throughout the program’s history. But recently, many of the area’s top players have left Los Angeles for their collegiate careers.
UCLA would like that to change and it starts with Cassius Stanley. The Sierra Canyon product is a top-30 recruit and has UCLA among his top schools. Stanley’s commitment to the Bruins would be a huge boost to start Cronin’s coaching career in Westwood.