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Musclechemistry Guru
Sam Cooper, Yahoo Sports

UCLA’s winding coaching search has finally reached a conclusion.

The school announced Tuesday that it has hired Mick Cronin as its next head coach. Cronin, 47, has spent the last 13 seasons as the head coach at Cincinnati, his alma mater. Cronin coached the Bearcats to nine consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, but UC has only once advanced past the Round of 32 during that span — a Sweet 16 loss in 2012.

Cronin, who also coached Murray State for three seasons, has a 365-171 record in 16 seasons as a college head coach.

Cronin and UCLA agreed to a six-year contract worth $24 million, the school said.

UCLA missed out on many coaches before hiring Cronin

UCLA fired Steve Alford on Dec. 31, so it had a head-start in the hiring process. The school set its sights high, but came up short in its pursuit of a bevy of upper echelon candidates.

Among the coaches pursued by UCLA were Kentucky’s John Calipari, Virginia’s Tony Bennett, TCU’s Jamie Dixon and Tennessee’s Rick Barnes.

Calipari leveraged the interest from UCLA into a “lifetime” contract at Kentucky. Bennett, who coached the Cavs to a national title on Monday night, was not interested. Dixon and UCLA reportedly hit a snag over UCLA’s reluctance to pay the $8 million buyout to separate Dixon from his contract at TCU. Barnes, after mulling the decision for a few days, turned down UCLA Monday night in order to stay at Tennessee.

The floundering search reflected the reality of UCLA’s fall from the top of college basketball. Now Cronin will be tasked with bringing the Bruins back up the ladder.

UCLA has not advanced past the Sweet 16 since 2008.