Steve Alford is heading into his eighth season as head basketball coach at the University of Iowa, leading the Hawkeyes to six straight winning seasons. Alford led Iowa to a 25-9 record in 2006, winning the Big Ten Conference Tournament for the second time. Alford's teams have won over 20 games in three of his seven years. Alford has posted a 135-92 (.595) record at Iowa and he is 291-169 (.633) in 15 seasons as a head coach.
The six straight winning seasons is the second longest consecutive winning seasons streak in school history, one shy of the school record. Alford is the only Iowa basketball coach to lead his team to six consecutive winning seasons. Alford's 291 career wins are the most among NCAA Division I basketball coaches who are 41 years old or younger.
The 25 wins in 2006 ranks as the second highest victory total ever at Iowa. The NCAA Tournament bid was Iowa's third under Alford and the Hawkeyes have played in the post-season in each of the last six seasons. The Hawkeyes also competed in the NCAA Tournament in 2001 and 2005.
The 25 wins are the most for Iowa since winning 30 games in 1987. Iowa won its second Big Ten Tournament title in the past six seasons and earned its highest NCAA Tournament seed since 1987 when Iowa was a two seed. The second place finish in the Big Ten regular season is Iowa's best since 1997 and the 11 Big Ten wins mark the highest total for Iowa since the league adopted a 16-game schedule in 1998.
In seven years Alford has posted a 13-5 mark in the Big Ten Tournament, leading all league coaches in tournament wins and winning percentage. Only two other teams can match Iowa's two tournament titles.
In 2006 Iowa won all 17 home games, setting a school record for home wins while posting the first undefeated home season in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, which opened in 1983. Iowa's 18-game home win streak, dating back to the final home game of the 2005 season, is also a Carver-Hawkeye Arena record. Iowa will begin the 2006-07 season with the third longest active win streak in the nation.
The Hawkeyes established another first in Iowa basketball with 10 wins over top 25 opponents. Iowa was 10-4 against top 25 teams, with seven of those wins coming at home.
Iowa began the 2005-06 season ranked 20th in both major polls. The Hawkeyes moved as high as 12th in the Dec. 5 Associated Press rankings and appeared in the rankings in 12 of 16 weeks. Iowa held first place in the Big Ten standings from Jan. 28 until Feb. 25.
In 2005 the Hawkeyes spent nine consecutive weeks in the national rankings, moving as high as 14th in January. The Hawkeyes closed the 2005 regular season with three straight wins. Victories over Purdue and 10th-ranked Michigan State advanced Iowa to the semi-finals of the Big Ten Tournament for the third time in six years.
Iowa, in 2005, was the only team in the nation to face all four participants in the Final Four, as the Hawkeyes defeated Louisville, split two games with Michigan State, lost once to North Carolina and lost twice to Illinois, including an overtime loss in Champaign. Wins over Louisville, Texas Tech and Michigan State gave the Hawkeyes three wins over Sweet 16 teams for the first time since 1991.
The Hawkeyes enjoyed a great start to the 2004-05 season, advancing to the finals of the EA Sports Maui Invitational before losing to North Carolina. Iowa was 12-1 in non-conference play, collecting impressive wins over Louisville, Texas, Northern Iowa, Iowa State and Texas Tech.
The Hawkeyes posted a 16-13 overall record in 2004, including a 9-7 mark in Big Ten play. Iowa earned sole possession of fourth place in the Big Ten race and advanced to the National Invitation Tournament. In winning nine Big Ten games, Iowa did not loose consecutive games in league play.
The 2003 Hawkeye squad fought to the end to produce Alford's third straight winning season, a mark that many felt was unattainable when the season began due to several defections and an overall lack of experience. His fourth Iowa team posted an 8-3 non-conference record and won three of four games against nationally ranked opponents while earning a 17-14 overall record.
Alford led his 2002 Iowa squad to 19 wins and a top 10 national ranking through the first half of the season. The Hawkeyes made a second straight run through the Big Ten Tournament. The ninth-seeded Hawkeyes opened the tourney with an 87-72 win over Purdue before defeating Wisconsin 58-56 in the quarter-finals and Indiana 62-60 in the semi-finals, defeating two of the co-Big Ten champions on back-to-back days. Ohio State took control over the final 10 minutes of the championship game to keep Iowa from winning its second straight tournament title.
With a young and inexperienced team that was forced to adjust to the loss of two key players, Alford guided his 2001 Iowa team to the Big Ten Tournament title. The sixth-seed, Iowa won four games in four days to earn the Big Ten Conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Once in the tournament, the Hawkeyes advanced to the second round before falling to second-seeded Kentucky.
Iowa concluded the 2001 season with a 23-12 overall record, including a Big Ten mark of 7-9. The Hawkeyes played well with a team that included nine new players from the previous season, including six freshmen. In winning 23 games Iowa was ranked as high as 14th during the regular season while appearing in the top 25 rankings for 10 consecutive weeks. Iowa was 17-4 after 21 games and in first place in the Big Ten (6-2) at the midway point in the conference season before guards Luke Recker and Ryan Hogan were lost for the season to injuries.
The Alford era at the University of Iowa began in impressive fashion in 1999-00, as the Hawkeyes scored a 70-68 win over Connecticut in the season opener. The win over the top-ranked Huskies, the defending NCAA champion, came in New York City's Madison Square Garden in front of a national audience.
Alford was named men's basketball coach at the University of Iowa on March 22, 1999, and he immediately made a solid impact on the Iowa program. All home games were sold out in both 2001 and 2002, marking just the fourth and fifth seasons since Carver-Hawkeye Arena opened in 1983 that all tickets were sold for all games. Iowa has remained among the top 25 schools in the nation in home attendance.
Alford's presence on the Iowa sidelines has brought national attention to the Hawkeye program. Not just because of wins over some of the most established basketball programs in the nation, but also because Alford is recognized as one of the top bright, young coaching stars in college basketball today.
Along with the added national attention and six consecutive winning seasons, Alford has also made his mark away from the basketball court, being involved with several charitable organizations. Alford is involved with the Special Olympics of Iowa and Special Olympics of Henry County in his hometown of New Castle, IN. His golf outing for Iowa Special Olympics has helped raise over $60,000 in four years.
Alford's Iowa basketball program plays a significant role in two events staged annually by the UI Athletic Department that support local charities. The Black and Gold Blowout, a pre-season intra-squad scrimmage, has generated more than $150,000 in its 11 years of existence. The Miracle Game - the name given to Iowa's first exhibition game each season and an event co-sponsored by UI corporate partner University of Iowa Health Care - has generated more than $60,000 for the Children's Hospital of Iowa since being introduced five seasons ago.
Alford is also involved with the local Ronald McDonald House and he serves on the national Board of Directors for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. During the 2003 season Alford established the High Five Club, in which Steve and his family provide 12 tickets to all home games for use by children from the UI Children's Hospital, the Children's Museum and the Ronald McDonald House. In addition, Alford has played a key role in the continuance of the annual Iowa basketball Golf Classic. A portion of the proceeds each year helps support the Chris Street Endowed Scholarship.
In Alford's seven seasons at Iowa, the Hawkeye program has gained national exposure. Over 25% of Iowa's games over the past seven seasons have been carried on national television and all games each season are televised throughout the Midwest. Thirteen Iowa games in 2006 alone were carried on national television. Iowa was ranked in the pre-season top 10 in nearly all publications at the beginning of the 2002 season and the Hawkeye program over the past seven seasons has been featured on television specials on ESPN, CNN/SI, Fox Sports Net and HBO Sports.
Alford has appeared as a guest panelist on ESPN's 2-Minute Drill game show. In August, 2001 he was a special guest at Wrigley Field and sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh inning stretch as the Cubs hosted the St. Louis Cardinals.
Alford is a native of New Castle, IN, where he was a prep standout for his father, Sam Alford, at New Castle Chrysler High School. He earned Indiana's Mr. Basketball Award in 1983 after averaging 37.7 points per game as a senior.
In 1984 he earned a gold medal at the Los Angeles Olympic Games and in 1987 he led Indiana to Big Ten Conference and NCAA Tournament championships. He was the 26th selection in the 1987 NBA draft and played four seasons in the NBA before beginning his coaching career.
Prior to taking his current position at Iowa, Alford posted a 78-29 record in four seasons (1992-95) at Division III Manchester College and a four-year (1996-99) record of 78-48 at Southwest Missouri State. The Bears, in 1999, defeated Wisconsin and Tennessee to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament before losing to top-ranked Duke in the regional semifinals. In 1997 Alford led the Bears to a 24-9 record (second in the MVC) and a trip to the National Invitation Tournament.
Alford led the Bears to a 16-12 mark in his first season at the Division I level in 1995-96. In 1997-98 Southwest won 12 of its final 18 games, posting a final record of 16-16 while advancing to the title game of the MVC post-season tournament for the second straight season.
Alford joined the collegiate coaching ranks at Manchester (IN) College in 1992, taking over a team that had lost its first eight games. After winning four of 20 games that season, Alford led Manchester to a 20-8 mark in his first full year.
The following season Manchester was 23-4 and in his fourth and final season at Manchester his squad was 31-1. Manchester won conference titles in 1994 and 1995 and competed in the NCAA Division III Tournament in his final three seasons. Manchester also won three straight conference tournament titles from 1993-95.
Manchester advanced to the Division III championship game in 1995 before suffering its first defeat in 32 games to place second in the nation. Alford was named Indiana Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year in 1993, 1994 and 1995 and his record was 74-13 over his final three seasons.
Alford, in 1999, was inducted into the Manchester College M Association Hall of Fame. In addition, the 1994-95 Manchester team was also inducted in recognition for their outstanding season.
Alford began his coaching career after a four-year career in the NBA, spending most of his career with Dallas and a portion of one season with Golden State. Alford scored 744 career points to go with 176 assists and a free throw accuracy of 87 percent over his four seasons. Alford played for former Iowa basketball standout Don Nelson in the NBA.
Along with being named Indiana's Mr. Basketball as a senior, Alford was the FCA Basketball Athlete of the Year and the Converse High School National Player of the Year. Steve's father, Sam, following an outstanding 30-year career as a prep coach, was an assistant coach at Southwest Missouri State for four seasons before joining Steve at Iowa. Sam retired following the 2004 season.
During his collegiate career at Indiana, Alford started all but five of 125 games as a Hoosier, helping Indiana post a four-year mark of 92-35. Alford served as team captain in 1987 when Indiana posted a 30-4 overall record, including a split in two games against the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Alford concluded his college career as Indiana's all-time scoring leader with 2,438 points and he became the first player to win the Indiana MVP award four times. He is also Indiana's career leader in steals and three-point field goal percentage. He was a consensus first team all-America selection and the Big Ten MVP as a senior.
In 1997 he was inducted into the Indiana University Athletics Hall of Fame and in 2001 he was one of 15 players selected to Indiana's all-Century team. In 2004 he was one of five players named to ESPN's Big Ten Conference Silver Anniversary team. The Sporting News recently published Legends of College Basketball, a publication that recalled the careers of the 100 greatest Division I college basketball players. Alford was No. 35 on the list.
Alford earned first team all-Big Ten honors in each of his final three seasons and also earned all-America honors as a junior. He was named to the NIT all-tourney team as a sophomore when the Hoosiers finished second in that tournament to UCLA. His career free throw percentage of .897 (535-596) ranks fourth best in NCAA history and he led the nation in free throw percentage as a freshman.
Alford was named to the all-tournament team at the 1987 NCAA Final Four and to the NCAA tournament all-decade team for the 1980s. He set an NCAA Final Four record when he made 7-10 three-point baskets in the 1987 championship game victory over Syracuse.
Following his freshman season at Indiana, Alford was selected to play for the United States basketball team at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Alford shot 64.4% percent from the field, averaged 10.3 points per game and was second on the team in assists as the U.S. collegians won the gold medal.
1984 marked the last U.S. amateur team to win the Gold Medal and Alford's teammates included Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Sam Perkins, Chris Mullin and Waymon Tisdale.
Alford was born November 23, 1964 in Franklin, IN. He holds a bachelor's degree in business from Indiana University. Steve is married to the former Tanya Frost, whom he has known since the two were schoolmates in grade school in New Castle. The Alford's have three children: Kory, 14; Bryce, 11; and Kayla, 9.