Jan. 4 (UPI) -- One name came to mind when Bill Walton was recently asked who should be the next coach of the UCLA Bruins men's basketball team: Barack Obama.
The UCLA basketball icon and NBA Hall of Famer recommended the former president while working alongside Dave Pasch during an ESPN broadcast of the Bruins' 92-70 win against Stanford on Thursday at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.
UCLA fired coach Steve Alford on Monday after six seasons. Alford compiled a 125-63 record with the program, including four NCAA tournament appearances and one Pac-12 tournament championship. His Bruins reached the Sweet 16 three times but were never able to advance.
"Who do you think can succeed here," Pasch asked Walton on Thursday. "What type of characteristics should UCLA look for in the next coach."
"Barack Obama," Walton said. "... I'm sticking with Barack Obama until he says no."
Pasch said he didn't think Obama would coach. Obama is a huge basketball fan who enjoys watching and playing the game. His brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, was the head coach at Brown and Oregon State. He is now the vice president of player development and G League operations for the New York Knicks.
Assistant coach Murry Bartow is serving as the Bruins' interim coach through the remainder of the 2018-2019 campaign.
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero, senior associate athletic director Josh Rebholz, associate athletic director Chris Carlson and Bruin basketball alumnus and Golden State Warriors president of basketball operations/general manager Bob Myers are working together to conduct a national search for the next coach of the Bruins.
The Bruins are 8-6 entering a battle with the University of California at 4 p.m. Saturday at Pauley Pavilion.