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UCLA fires basketball coach Ben Howland


Ben Howland was fired as UCLA men's basketball coach on Sunday after 10 years with the program, the longest tenure since John Wooden.

Ben Howland was fired as UCLA men's basketball coach on Sunday after 10 years with the program, the longest tenure since John Wooden. Blaine Ohigashi / Daily Bruin


UCLA has fired basketball coach Ben Howland after 10 years on the job.

Howland was notified of the decision Sunday afternoon by Athletic Director Dan Guerrero. During a teleconference with reporters on Sunday, Guerrero said a search for Howland’s replacement has already begun.

“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 Block, Abrams and 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.”

The statement comes less than a day after Yahoo Sports released a report that Howland had been informed of his firing on Saturday. The school later denied the reports, stating that UCLA had not fired Howland as of Saturday night.

“I want to thank Ben for all that he has done for UCLA in his 10 seasons in Westwood,” 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 leaves UCLA with a career record of 233-107. He missed the NCAA Tournament just three times and took the Bruins as far as the national championship game in 2006 during a run that included three Final Fours.

[UPDATED at 8:54 p.m.]

“The evaluation of a coach involves a number of other things beside just wins and losses,” Guerrero said. “I felt that now was the appropriate time.”

Guerrero said he and his staff will “cast our net broadly” in the search for Howland’s successor and didn’t rule out the possibility of looking at former or current professional coaches. If a prospective coach is currently competing in the NCAA Tournament, Guerrero said he would wait until that coach’s team was finished with the tournament.

The university is working with an $80 million budget to hire its new coach, $3.5 million of which will be used to buy out the remaining years on Howland’s contract.

Guerrero is looking for a coach that can play a “fun” and “quality” style of basketball. Howland was often criticized for a brand that many thought was boring.

The AD is also looking for a coach who can “excite the fan base.” UCLA opened a renovated Pauley Pavilion this season at a price tag of $136 million but only sold it out twice.

Compiled by Sam Strong, Bruin Sports senior staff.

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  • Bruin98

    As a supporter of both Dan G. and CBH, I am sad to see our season end like this. Our team and players deserved better ending than this. I strongly believe that we could have beaten Oregon and Minnesota and would have had a viable shot at beating Florida with Jordan Adams. It is amazing how a single injury can derail an entire program……
    I want to thank Coach Howland for his dedication and hard work at UCLA. He is class act and ran a clean program. He never said or did anything to make UCLA look bad. Best wishes to him and his family.

  • popbruin

    Disappointing and low class way to handle this. Leak he is fired, announce he is not fired then fire him. Howland and UCLA deserve better. Howland seems to be the only class act in this drama. This is our loss.By the way, since when is winning with great defense boring? Must have missed that while watching? Perhaps time for new AD? Perhaps the wrong person was fired. Oh well, Good luck coach, you deserve better than what has transpired. You will do well where ever you go, will UCLA?

    • Bruin98

      Popbruin, A.D did not leak the firing and he had not choice but to ask his people to deny it until he had a chance to do what needed to be done. There are people in every school or organization that can not KEEP THEIR MOUTH SHUT and leak information all the time. Dan was out of town (Autstin, TX) like everyone else on Saturday and had not met with CBH. IF you know anything about legal process, you should know that you can not just fire someone. There were things that needed to be worked out before DG or Morgan Ctr could announce his firing. Once Dan met with CBH on Sunday, then the final announcement came out.
      As far as firing goes, it was known for the entire season that Ben will lose his job, if he was not able to deliver at the end of the season. There was push from big donors to fire him after the 5-3 start, but he was able to beat Mizz and go on a 10 game winning streak and save his job for the rest of the season. I still have nightmares over losing to $C at new Pauley……. I am sorry but I lost him after that game.
      If you recall, everyone was asking for Ben’s firing at the end of last season and Dan G. kept him in order to be fair and show him that we are willing to give him the “fourth” second chance at the end of a 10 year span. Ben was not able to deliver. I liked CBH, supported him but at the end, it came down to “what have done for me lately” scenario
      Ben is a nice guy to you and I, but you will hear a completely different story, if you talk to the people who worked and played for him. I still wish the best for CBH and our team….
      GO BRUINS

  • Patrick

    Blessed? Ten titles for Mr. Wooden. First Two with Lefty Gail Goodrich, the leading scorer on the Lakers 33 in a row in ’72. Two with Lefty Bill Walton. I once asked Ben “No Banner” Howland how many Lefties he had. B “NB” H thought for about five seconds…and with a stunned look….said, “NONE.” His last year he starts one and Bless Ben’s Heart, made the top 68 teams in the NATION. Blessed? Ten years, TWENTY Million Dollars and Ben “No Banner” Howland should feel blessed. And the kids who were at UCLA during his blessed times? Listen, Mr. Wooden never made $40,000 a year. Al McGuire, who won two years after Mr. Wooden in 1977 was the first coach to earn $50,000. But Al’s greatest contribution was filling the four corners of the ARENA to the rafters at game time. Ben “No Banner” Howland. Now THERE’s a Showman! The Blessed Ben Show! Hoo-Hoo!

  • Patrick, P.S.

    Yes, Blessed be Ben Howland. Reminds me of Mike Sherman who had Brett Favre for 6 Years. When he was looking for another job, Marv Levy interviewed him in Buffalo, “You had Brett Favre for 6 years and not once made the NFC championship game? Why would I hire you?” Mike Sherman once coached football at UCLA. I would ask the next AD who interviews Ben “No Banner” Howland. “Ben, you had UCLA for 10 YEARS and not once did you win ONE NCAA title?” Yup, sounds like Mike Sherman to me. Blessed? 88 in Row with The Walton Gang with Two Banners. Two with Gail Goodrich. Three with Kareem…PLUS 4 MORE. You GO, Ben.