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UCLA Hires Steve Alford As New Head Coach

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A new era of UCLA basketball is underway as the school has hired former New Mexico head coach Steve Alford to the same position.

Alford will receive a seven-year deal worth $18.2 million according to UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero.

Alford replaces the recently fired Ben Howland. Howland coached at UCLA for ten years. He led the program to three straight Final Fours earlier in his tenure, but his recent lack of postseason success made him expendable.

Meanwhile, Alford spent the last six seasons at New Mexico, and had even agreed to a ten-year extension with the shcool just ten days ago. Alford never officially signed the deal, so he's headed to California.

"It's been a difficult morning to tell a team that I clearly love and a team and built last six years," Alford said. "I'm proud of my time and the opportunity given at New Mexico. I am very much looking forward to taking the helm at UCLA."

New Mexico went 29-6 this season, but lost to Harvard in the round of 64 last week in Salt Lake City.

The team will name Craig Neal as their interim head coach.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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