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Cincy coach bolts for UCLA

Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Mick Cronin talks to the team during a timeout in the second half of the NCAA Tournament Round of 64 game against the Iowa Hawkeyes, Friday, March 22, 2019, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Cronin left the Cincinnati Bearcats for UCLA this week.

University of Cincinnati

CINCINNATI – University of Cincinnati Director of Athletics Mike Bohn confirmed Tuesday that men's basketball head coach Mick Cronin has accepted the same position at UCLA.

"Coach Cronin informed me at noon ET today (Tuesday) about his decision to leave his position at the University of Cincinnati to take the head coaching job at UCLA," Bohn said. "We are thankful to Mick for his work over the past 13 seasons, elevating his alma mater into one of the elite programs in the nation. We wish him well at UCLA. We will begin moving forward immediately on a national search to find our next head coach."

Cronin compiled a 296-147 overall record in 13 seasons at the helm, guiding the Bearcats to nine consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (2011-2019), two American Athletic Conference regular-season championships (2014, 2018) and two AAC tournament championships (2018, 2019). He was named the 2018 Sporting News Coach of the Year and 2014 AAC Coach of the Year.

Under Cronin's leadership, Cincinnati rebuilt a program featuring only one returning scholarship player prior to the start of the 2006-07 campaign to one that has won 89 games over the past three seasons. Only Gonzaga (102) and Villanova (94) have won more games since 2016-17. The win total marks the most successful three-year stretch in school history.

Cronin became the first Cincinnati coach to record back-to-back 30-win seasons in 2017 (30-6) and 2018 (31-5), including the 2017-18 campaign that saw the Bearcats tie the school mark for victories with 31 while finishing the year ranked sixth in the Associated Press poll.

This past season saw Cronin reassemble a successful squad after the loss of 2018 AAC Player of the Year Gary Clark and Kyle Washington to graduation and the departure of Jacob Evans III to the NBA following the 2017-18 campaign. The 2018-19 Bearcats forged their own winning ways accomplishing a 28-7 overall mark, a second-place league finish at 14-4, its second straight AAC tournament title and a ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

The 47-year old Cronin owns a 16-year career record of 365-171, including a 69-24 mark during three seasons as head coach at Murray State (2004-06). A Cincinnati native and UC alumnus, Cronin first joined the Cincinnati men's basketball staff as a video coordinator under former head coach Bob Huggins prior to the 1996-97 season. He served the following four seasons as an assistant coach.

"This is a top-tier basketball job for the right coach," Bohn said. "With the $87-million investment in Fifth Third Arena, a consensus Top-25 team in the nation returning next season, nine-straight NCAA Tournaments and one of the Associated Press' Top-10 programs of all time coupled with our strategic investments in student-athlete welfare and the incredible academic resources available at UC, we are confident about the upward trajectory of men's basketball at UC."

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