Dec. 31 (UPI) -- UCLA Bruins head basketball coach Steve Alford was fired Monday after six seasons with the program.
"Throughout my career as an athletic director, I have maintained a belief that making a head coaching change during a season is rarely in the best interests of our student-athletes or program," UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. "In this case, however, it is now clear to me that what is best for our current students and for the overall good of the program, is to make this change now.
"While Steve led us to three Sweet 16 appearances, we simply have not been performing at a consistent level and our struggles up to this point in the season do not bode well for the future. On behalf of UCLA Athletics, I want to thank Steve, Tanya and the entire Alford family for their commitment to UCLA and wish them all of the best in the future."
Guerrero announced that assistant coach Murry Bartow will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
The Bruins' national search for a new head coach will begin immediately. Guerrero will be assisted in the search by a committee consisting of senior associate athletic director Josh Rebholz, associate athletic director Chris Carlson and former Bruins player and current Golden State Warriors president and general manager Bob Myers.
"I'm extremely appreciative to everybody at UCLA for what has been a tremendous run and the chance to work with such special student-athletes and coaches," Alford said in a statement released by the team. "While I wish we could have had more success, my family and I are so grateful for our time in Westwood. We wish this program nothing but the best. I sincerely hope that the UCLA community will rally around this team, its players and the coaching staff as Pac-12 play begins."
During his coaching career at UCLA, Alford posted a 124-63 record and led the Bruins to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including three trips to the Sweet 16 (2014-15, 2017).
The Bruins have struggled this season under Alford, compiling a 7-6 record. UCLA is on a four-game losing streak with notable home losses to Belmont and Liberty, the latter being the worst home loss of Alford's tenure.