New UCLA Coach Won’t Pay $1M Buyout To New Mexico

New UCLA coach Steve Alford said he won’t pay a $1M buyout to his old school, New Mexico.

Alford had been in a sticky situation regarding a contract with New Mexico. On March 18 he signed a term sheet agreeing to a 10-year contract with the Lobos, which included a $1 million buyout clause.

The contract would have taken effect on April 1, but Alford tendered his resignation on March 30 to take the coaching job at UCLA. In an email this week, the university revealed that the coach won’t pay the $1M buyout, but is willing to pay a $200,000 buyout, the terms of his previous contract.

This is not the first time Steve Alford has run into controversy since leaving New Mexico to join the Bruins. In his first official presser with UCLA, Alford was questioned on his support of a former player accused of sexual assault.

In 2002 Alford stood up for Pierre Pierce, his player at Iowa, after Pierce was accused of sexual assault. Alford on a number of occasions and proclaimed his innocence, but after another incident in 2005 involving a woman Pierce was kicked off the Iowa team.

Pierce would later plead guilty to two charges of first-degree burglary, assault with intent to commit sexual assault and fourth-degree criminal mischief. He spent 11 months in prison.

At first, Alford seemed to deflect the situation.

“That was an incident that happened years ago at the University of Iowa and all I can tell you with that situation is I followed everything that the University of Iowa, the administration, the lawyers that were hired, I did everything I was supposed to do at the University of Iowa in that situation,” Alford said at the April 2 press event. “I followed everything that I was told to do.”

But soon after, Alford apologized for defending Pierce.

Though the coach said he won’t pay the $1M buyout, he may not have a choice. Sources said UNM is considering taking him to arbitration to force him to pay.