A text sent to major donors provided extensive detail on UCLA's extended coaching search. Maybe too much detail.

By Charlotte Carroll
April 30, 2019

UCLA offered coach Jay Wright double his salary at Villanova to come coach the Bruins, reports the Los Angeles Times' Ben Bolch. The Bruins finally hired Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin on April 9. 

The LA Times viewed a text that Josh Rebholz, UCLA’s senior associate athletic director, sent to major donors explaining the progress of the search after top candidate John Calipari agreed to a lifetime contract with Kentucky. The text shared that the Bruins’ list started with more than 60 candiates including Calipari, Brad Stevens, Tom Izzo, Billy Donovan, Mark Few and Tony Bennett. Despite efforts to recruit top names, the text reads that Calipari was the only "home-run" candidate to show interest. 

In the text, Rebholz described the Calipari pursuit. He also discussed how the school used a firm to vet candidates, which left a list of "untouchables" due to NCAA violations, "infidelity, very low character, etc." He closed the text hopeful, saying they had two to three solid names they could land. 

"We would have loved for Jay Wright to walk out on the floor, but even when we offered to double his salary, he still wasn’t coming. Nothing we can do about that. But I am proud of our effort. We didn’t assume anything, took our shots and I believe will end up with a solid coach who will embrace UCLA and build a program we all can be proud of and root for."

After the Bruins struck out with Calipari, there was a firm belief that TCU’s Jamie Dixon would be hired, with media materials being printed and more, according to Bolch. But the two sides couldn't come to an agreement on Dixon's buyout.

Bolch also reported that Bruins had initially agreed to all of Calipari's demands, including a six-year, $45 million contract, eight new staff positions, private planes for the team and more.

The Bruins fired Steve Alford in December after a 7–6 start to the season.

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