Ex-UCLA coach Alford hired to lead Nevada

Steve Alford has been hired as head coach of the Nevada men's basketball team, the school announced Thursday.

Alford, who was fired by UCLA on Dec. 31, replaces Eric Musselman, who left earlier this week for the head-coaching job at Arkansas. Musselman led Nevada to three NCAA tournaments in four seasons.

Alford is expected to be introduced at a Friday news conference.

"There is no better coach than Steve Alford to continue the rise of Nevada basketball, and we are excited for the next chapter," athletics director Doug Knuth said in a prepared statement.

Alford interviewed with the Wolf Pack and emerged as the front-runner for the job this week, sources told ESPN.

He spent 5 ½ seasons with the Bruins, reaching four NCAA tournaments and making three Sweet 16 appearances. UCLA lost in the First Four in 2018 and struggled last season before Alford was fired on New Year's Eve and replaced by interim coach Murry Bartow.

Before taking over in Westwood, Alford spent six seasons at New Mexico, where he went to three NCAA tournaments. He was also the head coach at Iowa and Missouri State, where he made a combined four NCAA tournament appearances.

Nevada lost in the first round of this year's NCAA tournament and will have a massive roster turnover, with seven seniors leaving, including twins Caleb and Cody Martin, and Jordan Caroline.

"To be able to continue my career in a tight-knit community that has demonstrated its support for the basketball program is exactly the opportunity that [wife] Tanya and I were looking for, and we are thrilled to be in Northern Nevada," Alford said. "I can't wait to get to work as we look to build off the established tradition and momentum of this great program. I want this to be the last stop of my coaching career."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.