Coming off one of the best UCLA football seasons in recent memory the UCLA football program is on the up and up. Thanks in large part to solid coaching from Jim Mora. He has found a way to get the most out of all of his players, which hasn't been the case over the past dozen years or so. Then there is the basketball program that has so much history and prestige and is trying to right the ship once again. Just when we all thought Ben Howland had fixed things with the recruiting class last year, the team fails to live up to all the hype. While I don't think the season was as big a failure as many people do, obviously some changes were necessary.
So which of the coaches for these two UCLA programs will be under more pressure to succeed this upcoming season? Jim Mora will be in his second season at UCLA and it will be a much tougher year for him. The football team plays a lot more road games and of course they are mostly the big games. Luckily, the young players who played so well last season are a year older and smarter and should be able to stay close in every game. The real question is can they turn those close games into wins. That will probably be the biggest factor between a 6-5 season and a 9-2 season.
The basketball program is still looking to find the same success it did under John Wooden. Let's face it, that won't happen. Not just for UCLA, but for any basketball program across the country. Still, the Bruin faithful want championships and first round NCAA tournament losses aren't going to get it done. Alford hasn't really proven that he can win the big games. Therefore, his tenure could be short lived at UCLA. Let's say that after two years they haven't made a final four, I think they will be asking for his head much like they did for Howland. This job has to be extremely stressful at all times. Every loss means that you are going to take heat. That's not the way it should be, but that is life as a UCLA basketball coach.
The last Football National Championship was in 1954. Not many people are assuming that UCLA football is going to be winning title after title. I think that Mora has done a great job turning UCLA back into the sexy school for football. He is getting some of those recruits that would usually go to USC. That is a big win for the Bruins coach. USC has long been the football titan in LA. Balancing out that power could make UCLA a title contender in the future because of all the talent in Southern California. Mora will continue to do well for himself if he can beat out USC in any regard. That is a solid recipe for success as UCLA football coach.
The last Basketball National Championship was in 1995. The Bruins basketball program has been trying to repeat that performance for the last 18 years. Unfortunately, it hasn't happened. Until it does happen again, it is going to be hard for any coach at UCLA to be considered a "good coach". Ben Howland went to three straight final fours and after a couple of suspect season everyone is asking for his head. That is what happens when you are "supposed" to win. The pressure for the basketball coach at UCLA has to be immense. The shadow cast by John Wooden is still there and making failures out of every coach that has followed in his footsteps.
So which coach is under more pressure next season? Obviously, it is Steve Alford. It isn't even close. The UCLA basketball coaching job has to be one of the hardest college coaching jobs in the country in any sport. The pressure to succeed is so strong that if you don't win games from the onset there will be reports that you will be fired. The head football coach job isn't an easy one either, but it just doesn't carry that same history that the basketball program does. Steve Alford is going to struggle in his first season and that doesn't mean that I don't think the Bruins will be a really good team this season. I just know that adjusting from coaching at New Mexico to coaching at UCLA is going to be tough. Good Luck to you Steve.
Back to the UCLA Bruins Newsfeed