UCLA Fires Ben Howland- Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens Waiting In The Wings?

Ben Howland.

UCLA says goodbye to their greatest coach, since John Wooden.  Three straight Final Fours, 123 wins, in a 4-year period and countless young men, playing well in the NBA and overseas.  Tough to see a coach fired, after winning the PAC-12 Title and bringing in the #1 recruiting class, in the nation.  Ben Howland will be missed.

You have to wonder if this firing was decided months ago and UCLA has already picked a new coach.  Is VCU’s Shaka Smart the pick or could it be Butler’s wonderkind Brad Stevens?  Other names thrown around have been Mark Few, Lorenzo Romar and Florida’s Billy Donovan.

From UCLA:

The University of California Los Angeles has relieved Head Men’s Basketball Coach Ben Howland of his duties effective immediately and a national search for his successor has begun. Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero informed Coach Howland of the decision this afternoon.

“I want to thank Ben for all that he has done for UCLA in his ten seasons in Westwood,” said Guerrero. “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.”

In 10 seasons in Westwood, Howland compiled a 233-107 record, with seven NCAA Tournament berths, including a string of three Final Fours from 2006-2008.

“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. “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.”

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