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I am one of the biggest fans in the world of columnist Gregg Easterbrook.
Easterbrook writes one of the most insightful sports columns in America, ESPN’s “Tuesday Morning Quarterback.” All residents of Los Alamos should read “TMQ” on a weekly basis during the NFL season, as Easterbrook talks a lot about science, philosophy and politics, almost as much as he does about football.
One of his main harping points is about college coaches who jump ship after signing long-term contracts for a sweeter deal elsewhere.
That seems a particularly poignant idea today in New Mexico, where it was just announced that Steve Alford is leaving the Lobo men’s basketball team for Westwood to join up with the UCLA Bruins.
On the one hand, it’s a tough offer to turn your nose at. UCLA is one of the most storied franchises in college basketball history, thanks largely to John Wooden, the Wizard of Westwood, and his star pupil, Lew Alcindor, later to be know as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
However, this move by Alford, coming before the ink was dry on a new 10-year deal with the Lobo program, now firmly puts him in Easterbrook’s “Weasel Coach” category. He signed a long-term commitment and walked away the second a better offer came along.
UCLA, like UNM, had a disappointing showing in the NCAA tournament and has several program-wide issues to contend with. Maybe Alford’s the answer. Maybe he’s not.
And what of Bryce and Kory Alford? Kory is a sophomore-to-be and was relegated to the UNM bench. Bryce, an incoming freshman, has shown considerable promise in the prep ranks and could be a legit college star before he’s done.
Are there any other players leaving with Alford?
Like, I don’t know, Mr. Kirk?