UCLA's coaching search has mercifully come to an end. After a that saw Kentucky's John Calipari, TCU's Jamie Dixon and Tennessee's Rick Barnes draw interest but ultimately stay put, the school announced Tuesday it has hired Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin. He'll be paid $24 million over the span of his newly-signed six-year deal.
"Mick Cronin is a fierce competitor, and I'm excited to welcome him to Westwood," athletic director Dan 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 was a name constantly brought up in the search, and with buzz of Barnes leaving the Vols for Westwood dying on Sunday, the search shifted back to Cronin, who will be officially introduced on Wednesday.
"I am incredibly humbled and honored to become the head coach at UCLA," said Cronin. "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."
Cronin has won at a high level during his tenure at Cincinnati, and while his lack of NCAA Tournament success over the years may be a sticking point (he has never made an Elite Eight and only once made a Sweet 16), he's highly regarded as a tough-nosed coach and brilliant basketball mind. At Cincy, he has also done more with less -- but now, he could do a whole lot more with the talent at his disposal in Westwood.
Cronin has a 296-147 overall record at Cincinnati since he took over the program in 2006, and has made nine consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. Prior to taking over at his alma mater of Cincinnati, Cronin was head coach at Murray State and also served as an assistant at Louisville and Cincinnati.