UCLA fires Ben Howland as basketball coach
MAR 24, 2013 7:45p ET
Reports circulated on Saturday that Howland had been let go. UCLA then released a statement later that night denying such was true.
Less than 24 hours later they made official what was perceived to be the inevitable.
“I want to thank Ben for all that he has done for UCLA in his ten seasons in Westwood,” athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. “He embraced our tradition and culture and produced some terrific teams and coached a number of wonderful young men. We wish Ben and his family all the best as they move onto a new chapter in their lives.”
Howland’s golden moments as the head coach of UCLA came during the 2006-08 seasons when he guided the Bruins to three consecutive Final Fours. In his lone championship game appearance, the Bruins were defeated by Florida in 2006.
Howland was 233-107 in his 10 seasons as head coach. He advanced to seven NCAA tournaments and won four regular season conference tournaments. The Bruins won two conference tournament titles during his tenure.
Howland was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 2006.
Since 2008, his teams have missed the NCAA tournament twice and have failed to reach even the Sweet 16. They twice lost in their opening games, including what proved to be Howland’s last game last Friday night in Austin, Texas –a 83-63 defeat at the hands of Minnesota.
“I have been blessed with the opportunity to coach at UCLA for 10 years and I will always be grateful to Dan Guerrero and Chancellors (Gene) Block, (Norman) Abrams and (Albert) Carnesale for the opportunity to coach and teach our players and work alongside tremendous coaches,” Howland said in a statement. “The UCLA community and fans have been unbelievable to my family and I, and it’s been an honor and privilege to represent this great institution. I look forward to what comes next.”
High profile names have emerged as potential candidates to replace Howland, including Louisville’s Rick Pitino, Florida’s Billy Donovan, Butler’s Brad Stevens, and VCU’s Shaka Smart.
With such targets, the school has to be prepared to pay its next coach $3 million per season, at the very least.
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