Publish date:

UCLA Hires Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin as Next Head Coach to Six-Year, $24 Million Deal

Cronin has spent the last 13 seasons with Cincinnati.

UCLA has hired Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin to fill the program's head coaching vacancy after a lengthy search, the school announced Tuesday. It will reportedly be a six-year, $24 million deal. 

Cronin emerged as an early candidate for the job but fell to the backburner as the Bruins pursued other candidates. The 47-year-old Cronin has been the head coach of the Bearcats since 2006.

"In my departure, I hope that the University of Cincinnati community will stay together the same way we have come together the last 13 years to be the Class of our League in men's basketball," Cronin said in a statement on Twitter on Tuesday. "I love Cincinnati and the University. I love all of our players past and present and I wish everyone the very best."

Cincinnati has made nine consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament during Cronin's 13 seasons with the program, advancing as far as a regional semifinal in 2012. Cronin led the Bearcats to a 296–146 record during his tenure.

SI Recommends

His teams beat the Bruins in two of the past three seasons, including a 29-point blowout in December. Cincinnati finished this season with a 28–7 record and its second consecutive American Athletic Conference tournament championship. They fell to Iowa in the first round of the 2019 NCAA tournament.

UCLA's head coaching search has taken several turns before landing on Cronin.

Tennessee's Rick Barnes turned down an offer from UCLA that would have paid $5 million per year. Barnes finalized his decision on Monday after the Volunteers reportedly countered with a new offer.

The Bruins were also rumored to be interested in TCU head coach Jamie Dixon for their head coach vacancy. But Dixon's $8 million buyout was reportedly too expensive and forced UCLA to find a new candidate. 

UCLA fired former head coach Steve Alford on Dec. 31 after six seasons with the Bruins. Alford reached the tournament four times at UCLA, including three Sweet 16 appearances. The Bruins finished the season 17–16 under interim coach Murry Bartow, ending the 2018-19 season seventh in the Pac-12 at 17–16, 9–9.