WESTWOOD — After firing Steve Alford earlier this year following a particularly ugly start to the season for the Bruins’ men’s basketball team, the school promoted assistant coach Murry Bartow, son of former UCLA 1970s head coach Gene Bartow, to interim head coach. The 57 year old Bartow has decades of coaching experience, first becoming a head coach in the 1996 season. He looks to bring a new identity to the team centered around what he says are his core values: “grit, toughness, strength, fortitude, determination, toughness, discipline, and grit.”
When introduced in a press conference held by UCLA, Bartow seemed eager to take over the reigns of the team. “We have several very talented players, and I know this team can perform to a higher level than we have so far,” Bartow said with more passion in his voice than expected, considering he has the face of an accountant and the name of a cartoon mouse. “No offense to Steve Alford, but he was as passive as a butterfly, and I am prepared to bring a bit more structure and a bit more intensity.” Bartow was a graduate assistant coach under infamously intense coach Bob Knight at Indiana University in 1987, while Alford was playing for the university. “I’m not saying I’m going to throw a chair across the court in a fit of rage,” Bartow laughed when asked how closely he aims to imitate Bob Knight, “but I’m also not saying I won’t. This team needs more fervor, and a well-timed chair throw can really get the juices flowing.”
Murry Bartow’s most recent coaching ventures, outside being an assistant at UCLA, came at East Tennessee State University and the University of South Florida. “I was at East Tennessee for 12 years, and their abbreviation is E-T-S-U, so you could say I have a wealth of experience coaching for schools with 4 letter acronyms,” Bartow said during the press conference in a concerningly genuine tone. “Also, more recently, I was the interim [head coach] at South Florida, so I know what it’s like to coach under the [interim] title. I come prepared, ready to win.” Bartow led the University of South Florida to a 1-16 record while at the helm, and was not brought back on their staff the following season. Time will only tell if he can turn this season around for the Bruins.