UCLA Bruins‘ head coach Ben Howland is expected to be fired after 10 years with the program, reported by many sources including Yahoo! Sports identifying a source close to the program.
The school is denying that Howland has been fired as of Saturday night.
This was not the most surprising news as Howland has had trouble with his teams in the past few seasons as he reeled in the top recruits but couldn’t do anything with them. He had one of the best recruiting classes in the country in 2012 highlighted by freshman sensation Shabazz Muhammed but had little to show for it this season.
Although Muhammed had a pretty solid season and could be one of the top picks in the 2013 NBA Draft if he decides to leave, which looks likely now, he couldn’t turn UCLA into a Final Four-caliber team or even get them out of the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Rumors circulating following the Bruins’ loss to Minnesota on Friday night say that Howland has coached his last game and could be fired as early as Saturday.
UCLA has been one of the most successful programs of all time, and coaching the Bruins is one of the most prestigious jobs in college basketball. However, Howland was brought into the program in 2003 as a successful coach with high hopes for more titles as they were known for in the 1960s and 1970s. That obviously has not happened.
In fact, the Bruins haven’t won a title since 1995, and the almost 20-year drought is not cutting it for UCLA. Although Howland brought in some of the nation’s top players each year and made the Final Four three times, he has been suffering average seasons the last five years, including three years with 10-plus losses.
The coach finished his UCLA career with a 230-105 record, but the firing is nothing but good for the program as the next coach will likely be a top-notch coach that can bring the celebrated program over the hump.