Steve Alford Named Head Men's Basketball Coach at New Mexico
March 23, 2007
University of New Mexico athletics director Paul Krebs announced today that Steve Alford has been named the school’s 19th head men’s basketball coach. Alford spent the past eight seasons as the head coach at the University of Iowa. UNM and Alford have agreed on a six-year contract with total annual compensation of $975,000. Complete details of the contract will be available at a later date.
Alford, 42, has a 308-183 (63%) career record in 16 seasons as a collegiate head coach. His teams qualified for postseason play 11 times, produced 13 winning seasons and reached 20 wins on eight occasions.
“We are thrilled to have Steve and his family join our Lobo family,” said Krebs. “He is an outstanding coach and he possesses a proven track record in arguably the toughest men’s basketball conference in the country. In addition to his great basketball pedigree and national name, Steve is an outstanding teacher and recruiter who cares deeply about the student-athlete. Steve’s arrival at the University of New Mexico signals a commitment to re-establishing UNM as a national player in men’s basketball.”
The University of New Mexico finished the 2006-07 season with a 15-17 mark, only the Lobos’ second losing record in the past 24 years, since 1984.
“This is a tremendous opportunity,” said Alford. “I appreciate the opportunity that the University of New Mexico has given to me. We’re looking forward to getting started and excited to meet the team and building the program. The Pit and Lobo basketball has a great tradition with NCAA Tournaments. We want the home court advantage to be even better. The fans will have a big part in making that possible.”
In eight seasons at Iowa, Alford compiled a 152-106 record with a school-record seven consecutive winning seasons, and six postseason appearances. The Hawkeyes won two Big Ten Conference tournament titles (2001 and `06). Iowa was 17-14 in 2006-07. It was 9-7 in the Big Ten, tied with NCAA teams Illinois and Purdue for fourth place.
Alford led Iowa to a 25-9 record in 2005-06, winning the Big Ten Conference tournament for the second time. The 25 wins ranks as the second highest victory total ever at Iowa. The NCAA Tournament bid was Iowa’s third under Alford. The Hawkeyes also competed in the NCAA Tournament in 2001 and 2005.
Iowa went 17-0 at home in 2006, setting a school record, while posting the first undefeated home season in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, which opened in 1983. Iowa’s 18-game home win streak, dating back to the final home game of the 2005 season, is also an arena record.
The Hawkeyes established another first in Iowa basketball in 2006 with 10 wins over top 25 opponents. Iowa was 10-4 against top 25 teams, with seven of those wins coming at home.
In 2004-05, the Hawkeyes spent nine consecutive weeks in the national rankings, moving as high as No. 14 in January. Iowa was the only team in the nation to face all four participants in that year’s Final Four. The Hawkeyes defeated Louisville, split two games with Michigan State, lost once to North Carolina and lost twice to Illinois, including an overtime loss in Champaign. Wins over Louisville, Texas Tech and Michigan State gave the Hawkeyes three wins over Sweet 16 teams for the first time since 1991.
Alford led his 2001-02 Iowa squad to 19 wins and a top-10 national ranking through the first half of the season. The Hawkeyes made a second straight run through the Big Ten Tournament. Ninth-seeded Iowa opened the tourney with an 87-72 win over Purdue before defeating Wisconsin 58-56 in the quarterfinals and Indiana 62-60 in the semifinals, defeating two of the co-Big Ten champions on back-to-back days. Ohio State took control over the final 10 minutes of the championship game to keep Iowa from winning its second straight tournament title.
With a young and inexperienced team that was forced to adjust to the loss of two key players, Alford guided his 2000-01 Iowa team to the Big Ten Tournament title. Playing as a six seed, Iowa won four games in four days to earn the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Once in the tournament, the Hawkeyes advanced to the second round before falling to second-seeded Kentucky. Iowa concluded the 2001 season with a 23-12 overall record.
The Hawkeyes played well with a team that included nine new players, including six freshmen. In winning 23 games Iowa was ranked as high as 14th during the regular season while appearing in the top-25 rankings for 10 consecutive weeks. Iowa was 17-4 after 21 games and in first place in the Big Ten (6-2) at the midway point in the conference season before guards Luke Recker and Ryan Hogan were lost for the season to injuries.
The Alford era at the University of Iowa began in impressive fashion in 1999-2000, as the Hawkeyes scored a 70-68 win over Connecticut in the season opener. The win over the top-ranked Huskies, the defending NCAA champion, came in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
Alford was named men’s basketball coach at the University of Iowa on March 22, 1999, and he immediately made a solid impact on the program. Every home game was sold out in 2000-01 and 2001-02, marking just the fourth and fifth seasons since Carver-Hawkeye Arena opened in 1983 that all tickets were sold for all games.
Prior to Iowa, Alford posted a 78-29 record in four seasons (1992-95) at NCAA Division III Manchester (Ind.) College and a four-year (1996-99) record of 78-48 at Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State). The Bears defeated Wisconsin and Tennessee to advance to the Sweet 16 of the 1999 NCAA Tournament before losing to top-ranked Duke in the regional semifinals. In 1997 Alford led the Bears to a 24-9 record (second in the Missouri Valley Conference) and a trip to the National Invitation Tournament.
The Bears were 16-12 in Alford’s first season at the Division I level in 1995-96. In 1997-98 Southwest Missouri won 12 of its final 18 games, posting a final record of 16-16 while advancing to the title game of the MVC postseason tournament for the second straight season. Alford joined the collegiate coaching ranks at Manchester College in 1992, taking over a team that had lost its first eight games. After winning four of 20 games that season, Alford led Manchester to a 20-8 mark in his first full year of 1992-93.
The following season Manchester was 23-4 followed by a 31-1 mark in his fourth and final season. Manchester won three straight conference tournament titles from 1993-95, advancing to the NCAA Division III Tournament all three seasons.
Manchester advanced to the 1995 NCAA Division III championship game before suffering its first defeat in 32 games to place second in the nation. Alford was named Indiana Collegiate Conference coach of the year in 1993, 1994 and 1995 and his record was 74-13 over his final three seasons.
Alford was inducted into the Manchester College M Association Hall of Fame in 1999. The 1994-95 Manchester team was also inducted in recognition for its outstanding season.
Alford began his coaching career after a four-year playing stint in the NBA, spending most of his career with the Dallas Mavericks and a portion of one season with Golden State. He was the 26th selection in the 1987 NBA Draft. Alford played for former Iowa basketball standout Don Nelson in the NBA.
A native of New Castle, Ind., Alford was a prep standout for his father, Sam Alford, at New Castle Chrysler High School. He earned Indiana’s Mr. Basketball Award in 1983 after averaging 37.7 points per game as a senior.
During his collegiate career at Indiana, Alford started all but five of 125 games, helping the Hoosiers post a four-year mark of 92-35. Alford served as head coach Bob Knight’s team captain in 1987 when Indiana posted a 30-4 overall record and won the national championship.
Alford concluded his college career as Indiana’s all-time scoring leader with 2,438 points and he became the first player to win the Indiana MVP award four times. He is also Indiana’s career leader in steals and three-point field goal percentage. Alford was a consensus first team all-America selection and the Big Ten MVP as a senior.
Alford earned first team all-Big Ten honors in each of his final three seasons and also earned all-America honors as a junior. He was named to the NIT all-tourney team as a sophomore when the Hoosiers finished second to UCLA. His career free throw percentage of .897 (535-596) ranks fourth best in NCAA history and he led the nation in free throw percentage as a freshman.
Alford was named to the all-tournament team at the 1987 NCAA Final Four and to the NCAA tournament all-decade team for the 1980s. He set an NCAA Final Four record when he made 7 of 10 3-point baskets in the 1987 championship game victory over Syracuse. In 1997, Alford was inducted into the Indiana University Athletics Hall of Fame and in 2001 he was one of 15 players selected to Indiana’s all-Century team. He was one of five players named to ESPN’s Big Ten Conference Silver Anniversary team in 2004. The Sporting News recently published Legends of College Basketball, a publication that recalled the careers of the 100 greatest Division I college basketball players. Alford was No. 35 on the list.
Following his freshman season at Indiana, Alford was selected to play for the United States basketball team at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Alford shot 64.4% percent from the field, averaged 10.3 points per game and was second on the team in assists as the U.S. collegians won the gold medal.
The 1984 team marked the last U.S. amateur squad to win the Gold Medal and Alford’s teammates included Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Sam Perkins, Chris Mullin and Waymon Tisdale.
Alford was born Nov. 23, 1964, in Franklin, Ind. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Indiana University. Alford is married to the former Tanya Frost, whom he has known since the two were schoolmates in grade school in New Castle. The Alfords have three children: Kory, 14; Bryce, 12; and Kayla, 9.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT STEVE ALFORD
“There’s no doubt in my mind that it will be a great marriage, New Mexico and Steve Alford. I’ve known Steve for a long time through my association with Indiana University and coaching and playing against his teams. Knowing him well and loving the University of New Mexico, it will work. Steve’s hire brings immediate credibility to the University of New Mexico.”
Norm Ellenberger, Head Coach
University of New Mexico (1973-79)
“Steve Alford is one of the finest people I know. He will do things right at New Mexico and will energize their program. He is a great national recruiter and will bring an exciting style of basketball to the Lobos. Congratulations to him and his family.”
Rick Barnes, Head Coach
University of Texas
“New Mexico is getting a great coach and a tremendous man. He is salt of the earth, a class act and represents everything that is good about collegiate athletics. This is a gold-medal hire.”
Tubby Smith, Head Coach
University of Minnesota
“New Mexico made a great hire in Steve Alford. He will bring instant credibility to the Lobo basketball program. His track record of success as both a player and coach speaks for itself. I have great respect for coach Alford as a person and when the team, university and the fans meet him, they will too. He is one of the stars in the collegiate coaching ranks.”
Steve Lavin, ABC/ESPN College Basketball Analyst
“I look forward to Steve Alford joining the University of New Mexico and the Mountain West Conference for a number of reasons. He has a proven and valuable track record in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament both as a player and as a coach. In addition, he has been above reproach in successfully guiding other high-quality basketball programs and does it with honorable student-athletes.”
Craig Thompson, Commissioner
Mountain West Conference
“The University of New Mexico just created its first upset before ever playing a game. What a great hire for the Lobos–this guy can really coach. The university, the state, the team and the fans just got someone special. Steve Alford is the best human being I’ve ever been around.”
John Calipari, Head Coach
University of Memphis
Steve Alford Quick Facts
Born: November 23, 1964 in Franklin, Ind.
Wife: The former Tanya Frost
Kory, 14 (5/15/92)
Bryce, 12 (1/18/95)
Kayla, 9 (5/23/97)
1984-87 Indiana University:
• 1987 NCAA national champions
• two-time All-American
• Finished career as IU’s all-time leading scorer
• 1987 Big Ten MVP
1984: USA Olympic Basketball Team (gold medal)
1987-88: Dallas Mavericks (NBA)
1988-89: Dallas/Golden State (NBA)
1989-90: Dallas (NBA)
Career Record: 308-183 (.627) – 16 seasons
1992-95: Head Coach, Manchester College – 3-time conference coach of the year
1996-99: Head Coach, Southwest Missouri State – 1999 NCAA Sweet 16
2000-07: Head Coach, University of Iowa – 2-time Big 10 Tournament Champs; 3 NCAA Tournament appearances
Honors as a player
All-America, 1986, 1987
Big Ten Most Valuable Player, 1987
All-Big Ten, 1985, 1986, 1987
Olympic Gold Medal, 1984
NCAA Final Four All-Tournament, 1987
NCAA Tournament All-Decade Team, 1980’s
NIT All-Tournament, 1985
Indiana team MVP, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
Indiana team captain, 1987
Indiana University all-Century team, 2001
Indiana University Hall of Fame, 1997
NCAA free throw percentage leader, 1984
Indiana’s Mr. Basketball, 1983
Notes on Steve Alford’s Coaching Career
• Seven consecutive winning seasons from 2001-07 is the longest in Iowa basketball history
• Alford’s 308 career wins are the most among NCAA Division I basketball coaches who are 42 years old or younger
• In 16 seasons as a head coach, Alford has taken 11 teams to postseason play, including an appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1999
• In his second season at Iowa, Alford guided the Hawkeyes to the Big Ten Tournament title. Iowa became just the seventh Division I team to win a conference postseason tournament with four wins in four consecutive days.
• In 2006, Alford led Iowa to its second Big Ten Conference Tournament title with wins over Minnesota, Michigan State and Ohio State
• Alford’s eight seasons at Iowa were the second longest tenure of any coach in the Big Ten. Only Michigan State’s Tom Izzo among Big Ten head coaches has been in the league longer than Steve Alford
• Over the past 16 seasons, Alford’s team have led the league in scoring five times and finished second three times