Mick Cronin agrees to become UCLA's basketball coach

UCLA hires Mick Cronin as its new basketball coach

The longtime head coach at the University of Cincinnati was Tuesday named the head men's basketball coach at UCLA. The school had never before fired a coach during the season. The only other college coaches to take their teams to the NCAA tournament over each of the last nine years are North Carolina's Roy Williams, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, Michigan State's Tom Izzo, Kansas' Bill Self and Gonzaga's Mark Few.

Cronin has coached against UCLA three times in the past three years, first in the 2017 round of 32. Dixon and UCLA reportedly hit a snag over UCLA's reluctance to pay the $8 million buyout to separate Dixon from his contract at TCU.

Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers, a UCLA letterman who assisted with the search, said that it was important the school found a coach who "really wants to be here".

UCLA was an intriguing enough job to pull Cronin away from Cincy, with the allure of trying to bring the Bruins back to prominence on a national scale too enticing to pass up.

"Mick Cronin is a fierce competitor, and I'm excited to welcome him to Westwood", athletic director Dan Guerrero said.

Guerrero will lead an introductory press conference for Cronin at 11 a.m. on Wednesday in Pauley Pavilion. He helped guide the Racers to two Ohio Valley Conference tournament titles in 2004 and 2006 which put them in the NCAA Tournament. He returned to his coaching duties ahead of the next season.

Tuesday's announcement came as a surprise to almost everyone in the University of Cincinnati athletic department, including the basketball staff and players. Among the incoming recruits are Jaime Jaquez and Jake Kyman. He's led the Bearcats, his alma mater, to nine straight NCAA Tournament appearances and made them into one of the most consistent high mid-majors in the country.

The Bruins are coming off a mediocre 17-16 season in 2018-19. The Bruins on Tuesday tapped Cincinnati's Mick Cronin to replace interim coach Murry Bartow, ending a saga that displayed how far the once-heralded program has fallen in recent years. But Kentucky signed John Calipari to a long-term contract extension that should take him to retirement.

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