WESTWOOD, Calif. – It is not just a new season, but a new era under Head Coach Mick Cronin, who comes to the University of California Los Angeles Bruins after 13 years at the University of Cincinnati.
With nine appearances in the NCAA Tournament, Cronin raised hopes for fans in red and black. Now, can he meet the expectations of those in blue and gold?
“Pressure’s part of the job, you want pressure, I think you have to embrace pressure because that’s going to help you. It’s part of the reason I took the job,” says Cronin.
For the past couple of months, Cronin has been the new kid on campus, but has already figured out the main pitch for recruits.
“Are you kidding? This place sells itself,” says Cronin.
A self-proclaimed movie buff, Cronin is right at home in the film capital of the world, but there is nothing he loves more than his 12 year old daughter who moved West with him.
“Being a father is probably the most important thing for me. People tend to see me as an intense person. That’s not who you are, you don’t walk around all day scowling because a guy didn’t block out,” said Cronin.
Being a family man helps at a school where tradition runs deep and names like these are a constant reminder in the Mo Ostin Basketball Center. The Bruin hoops alumni are always around, and they are hungry for any reason to wear the UCLA letters with pride.
That love is also how Cronin plans to reignite a young basketball team that lost their coach in the middle of last season and finished in the bottom half of the Pac-12 Conference.
“Just trying to let him know those days are over guys, just try to follow my lead. The days of 17 and 16 are over,” said Cronin.
After taking his former program to the NCAA Tournament nine times, turns out Coach Cronin knows his way around the dance floor
“So that’s been the big thing with them, bonding with them, just trying to be a stabilizing force in their lives. It’s not easy,” said Cronin.
Cronin is consistent. It is clear how the players feel about him as not one athlete has transferred. Cronin stays away from the coaching clichés, but he has picked up a couple of Wooden-isms in his time with the blue and gold.
“Coach Wooden never talked about winning, that’s kind of my approach to the job here,” said Cronin.
With the pyramid of success at his back and the legacy of Wooden looming large, Mick Cronin leads the Bruins into a new season and new chapter for UCLA Basketball.