Dana Altman has savage response to USC, UCLA exiting Pac-12
Dana Altman wasn’t in the mood for sparing feelings on Wednesday.
When he took the stage at the Pac-12’s men’s basketball media day in San Francisco, the Oregon head coach was asked about the impending departures of USC and UCLA in 2024. He said he was disappointed, of course. The Los Angeles area is a key recruiting area for Oregon, not just in football.
But the Pac-12 will survive, he said.
“Since I’ve been in the league, USC hasn’t won the conference title or the tournament. UCLA maybe won one tournament, one league title,” he said. “Arizona’s been up there. We’ve won four conference titles.
“Our basketball league is going to survive. We’ve got good coaches, good programs. We’ll find our way.”
Altman joined the Ducks’ program prior to the 2010-11 season. Oregon has won at least 20 games a year in each of the 12 seasons since. The Ducks have made seven of a possible 11 NCAA Tournament appearances.
During the same time, Arizona has won 20 games 10 times while making eight NCAA Tournaments. The two programs have combined for nine regular-season Pac-12 titles and seven conference tournament crowns since Altman joined the league.
USC has six 20-win seasons and four NCAA Tournament appearances. UCLA has eight 20-win seasons and eight NCAA Tournament appearances.
The Bruins won the regular-season crown during the 2012-13 season. (Oregon won the conference tournament that year.) UCLA took the tournament title the next year but hasn’t won either since.
But don’t mistake Altman’s words for a suggestion the league is better without the two L.A. schools. He won’t go that far.
“I like the Pac-12. I think we’re a unique conference out here on the West Coast,” he said. “There’s no way to sugarcoat it. It’s not good for our league. But we’ll survive. We’ve got ten good teams, and it’s our challenge to improve, you know, to get better.
“It is disappointing because L.A. is important to us. UCLA, USC, I like Mick (Cronin), I like Andy (Enfield), so personally it’s not any good. But it is what it is, and we’ve just got to fight through it.”