Mick Cronin’s Struggles at UCLA
The scene was chaotic at UCLA as the sport coat soared through the air, and the coach, Mick Cronin, unleashed his frustration with a tirade at the officials during a Saturday night game against California. The result? A technical foul, a four-point play for the opposing team, and a 66-57 loss to the lowest-ranked team in the Pac-12.
Cronin’s week had been tumultuous, publicly questioning his players’ intelligence and threatening them with expulsion from the team. The meltdown on the court was just the beginning. In the postgame news conference, Cronin was a no-show, sending assistant coach Rod Palmer instead.
This disappearing act was not well-received, especially in Los Angeles, where coaches are expected to face the music, win or lose. Chip Kelly and Darvin Ham set the standard by addressing the media after every game, contrasting sharply with Cronin’s absence.
The Bruins’ season has been challenging, with a 6-9 record and a last-place standing in the Pac-12. The team, comprised of seven freshmen and eight newcomers, is clearly struggling on the court. However, Cronin’s handling of the situation is drawing criticism.
Before the loss to California, Cronin had already made troubling comments about his players, questioning their intelligence and placing blame on them for the team’s poor performance. This approach, which may have worked in his previous coaching stint, appears to be backfiring in the demanding Los Angeles sports market.
Cronin’s remarks about the players’ lack of aptitude and intelligence are raising eyebrows, especially considering they are 18-year-old students. Threatening to throw players off the team if they don’t perform better is seen as harsh and counterproductive.
Comparisons to the decline of Ben Howland’s coaching tenure at UCLA are emerging, with concerns about Cronin’s recruiting methods and alienation of local talent. The coach’s reluctance to take responsibility for the team’s struggles and his tendency to blame external factors are not sitting well with fans.
Cronin’s excuse about UCLA not having the funds for big-time transfers is viewed skeptically, especially in a sport where smaller programs have achieved success. The call is for Cronin to stop making excuses and start making adjustments to turn the team’s fortunes around.
In the midst of this challenging season, Cronin needs to take a hard look at his coaching approach, show accountability, and act like the leader his team needs. Otherwise, UCLA’s basketball program could be in for more rough times ahead.