Steve Alford. (Credit: UCLA Athletics)

WESTWOOD (CBSLA) — UCLA Athletics announced Monday that Steve Alford has been “relieved of his duties” as head coach of the men’s basketball team after a four-game losing streak.

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The university’s athletic director Dan Guerrero also announced that assistant coach Murry Bartow will serve as interim head coach through the end of the 2018-2019 season, while a search for a permanent replacement will begin immediately.

“Throughout my career as an athletic director, I have maintained a belief that making a head coaching change during a season is rarely in the best interests of our student-athletes or program,” Guerrero said in a statement. “In this case, however, it is now clear to me that what is best for our current students and for the overall good of the program, is to make this change now.”

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Alford brought the Bruins to a 7-6 start this season, his sixth as head coach. He previously led UCLA to four NCAA tournaments and three Sweet 16 appearances in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

The university also released a statement from Steve Alford himself:

“I’m extremely appreciative to everybody at UCLA for what has been a tremendous run and the chance to work with such special student-athletes and coaches. While I wish we could have had more success, my family and I are so grateful for our time in Westwood. We wish this program nothing but the best. I sincerely hope that the UCLA community will rally around this team, its players and the coaching staff as Pac-12 play begins.”

UCLA says it will honor the rest of Alford’s contract and will use only “department-generated funds” to complete the buyout.

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Get more on Alford’s firing and what it means for the Bruins at CBS Sports.