Ben Howland officially out as UCLA coach
UCLA has now confirmed reports throughout the weekend that head basketball coach Ben Howland will be let go.
Word of the firing comes just a day after the Bruins were beaten by Minnesota in a first-round game they hardly ever led in. They had an atrocious first half shooting that perhaps cost them the game early.
ESPN reports that the school’s Athletic Director, Dan Guerrero, informed Howland of the firing sometime on Sunday afternoon.
According to the Los Angeles Times, VCU’s head coach Shaka Smart and Butler’s coach Brad Stevens are potential targets for Howland’s replacement.
There are already rumors that perhaps he will be returning to his previous job at Pittsburgh, who also suffered an early ouster in the first round of the tournament this week. Still, many mid-level division I teams in the NCAA will likely be looking into pitches as bringing Howland in.
Howland has had some successes in his UCLA stint, most notably in recruiting. Unfortunately, most of his best recruiting classes have never stuck around long enough and many have opted for the NBA even after three-straight Final Four appearances in the last decade.
He has picked up “one-and-done” players like Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Jordan Farmar, Trevor Ariza and now Shabazz Muhammad will be the next early departure.