It didn’t take long for Steve Alford’s past to come up Tuesday during his introductory news conference at UCLA.
The second question came from Scott Reid of the Orange County Register about Alford’s handling of the Pierre Pierce sexual assault case while coaching at Iowa. This came after Alford had mentioned his early connection to John Wooden, whose alma mater, Martinsville (Ind.) High, is where Alford’s father, Sam, coached during his son’s grade-school years. Alford noted that’s where his father started the John Wooden Mental Attitude award given to a player yearly.
Reid asked Alford if Wooden would have handled the Pierre Pierce case the same way Alford did at Iowa. Pierce, a Hawkeyes’ starting guard in September 2002, was accused of raping a female student-athlete at the Big Ten school.
Alford said at the time, “I totally believe he’s innocent.”
Pierce was charged with third-degree sexual assault and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. He was suspended and redshirted, but the incident proved polarizing in Iowa City.
In 2005, Pierce was charged with sexual assault again when he was accused of threatening an ex-girlfriend with a knife and choking her. He was dismissed from the team before charges were filed, but Alford’s reputation took a major hit.
“That was an instance that happened years ago,” he said. “I followed everything that the University of Iowa, the administration, the lawyers that were hired … I followed everything that I was told to do.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball