One Assistant Hired, Two to Go

Craig Neal

These are the guys we've heard could make up Steve Alford's UCLA staff....

UPDATE: Coach Duane Broussard, who was an assistant for Steve Alford at New Mexico, has been hired as Alford's first assistant at UCLA. He's flying to Los Angeles today.

Here's an early list of some potential candidates for Steve Alford's staff. A D-1 staff has three assistants, a basketball operations person and a video coordinator. These are the coaches we could see possibly filling the three assistant spots:

Craig "Noodles" Neal -- Associate Head Coach at New Mexico and at Iowa, he's Alford's right-hand guy. Neal oversees the recruiting and was key to bringing in all of Alford's impact recruits. He's up for the New Mexico head coaching job, but we're hearing that New Mexico is going to try to get a bigger name with head coaching experience first. They could miss on bigger targets and still pull the trigger with Neal. He apparently is kind of a free spirit, with a bit of a hippie vibe, riding a Harley, and would probably fit right into the L.A. lifestyle. He has already established strong ties to some of the bigger AAU programs in California, like the Oakland Soldiers. New Mexico center Alex Kirk has said he'd only consider staying if Neal is hired, but the word is that the New Mexico administration isn't going to make a decision based on what one or few current players do. Incidentally, Kirk will graduate from UNM this August and would be eligible to transfer without having to sit out.

Kerry Keating – We're hearing from good sources that Keating would possibly return to UCLA as the associate head coach. Keating is in his sixth year as the head coach at Santa Clara, and had one of his better seasons in 2012-2013. In fact, he's in the championship of the CBI Tournament, which starts tonight (best two out of three games). It's not coincidental that UCLA was rolling when Keating was Ben Howland's assistant, and the wheels started to fall off when he left. Keating is an excellent recruiter, was the best recruiting assistant in the west when he was at UCLA. He's a good player manager, keeping everyone in the program happy. He knows UCLA well, obviously. There isn't really a connection between Keating and Alford, but Alford would have many people recommending Keating to him. His wife is Dan Guerrero's former assistant. If Neal gets the New Mexico job, you can expect Alford to turn to Keating. We can't see Neal and Keating, two associate head coach types, on the same staff, however. Why would Keating want the job and leave Santa Clara? Santa Clara is a tough place to win consistently, he'd get paid probably more at UCLA, he'd look like a savior because UCLA was good when he was here, and then, if good under Alford, was good when he returned, and that could set him up for bigger, more promising head coaching job. Or it could even put him line for the UCLA job.

HIRED Duane Broussard– He was one of Alford's assistant coaches at New Mexico, and on Monday he was hired by Alford to be an assistant at UCLA. He's a long-time New Mexico assistant, having been one under Ritchie McKay when he was the New Mexico coach. The word is that he's a good coach and a good guy, and that he's primarily the X's and O's guy for Alford.

Ed Schilling – Currently the executive director of the Champions Academy, a grassroots prep player training outfit, he also is involved as a coach in Adidas Nations, the organization that puts together and trains national all-star prep teams. He was the head coach at Wright State, and was an assistant under John Calipari at UMass, and was an assistant with the New Jersey Nets. The word on Schilling is that he'd give UCLA a big connection into the top Adidas talent, and that he's good coach and very personal guy that recruits respond to well.

Wyking Jones – Currently an assistant at Louisville, he's a former assistant at New Mexico under Alford, and before that an AAU coach. Jones is pretty much Louisville's west coast recruiter and knows the west coast AAU scene well.

Phil Mathews – The UCLA assistant under Howland, Mathews was the last staff's primary recruiter, handling most of the bigger recruits, having vast experience in the west with deep recruiting ties to high school and AAU coaches. Many of the players in the west Mathews has a personal connection to, often times, in his many coaching stops, having coached someone in their family. He's well-liked in AAU circles in the west, and wouldn't be affected at all by the issues many west coast AAU coaches had with Howland. He'd be a great combination with Neal or Keating.

Korey McCray – the UCLA assistant under Howland, McCray is close with some of UCLA's current players, and has ties to AAU programs, mostly in the east. He was brought to UCLA by Howland for those ties. McCray's a personal guy, who recruits and players respond to well.

Tyus Edney – After three years as Director of Basketball Operations at UCLA, Edney could be considered for the third assistant coaching position. Edney learned well under Howland, and many in the athletic department feel he's ready to take the next step to assistant coach. He probably has a very good chance of holding onto the Basketball Ops spot.

Drew Adams – One of Alford's assistants at New Mexico, he was the lowest guy on the totem pole. Adams was brought to UNM after being Director of Basketbal Ops at Indiana. He has ties to AAU the best AAU program in Indiana. He played for Alford at Iowa.

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