Now the Bruins are looking to fill the void of who was supposed to be the next John Wooden in one of the most competitive sports markets in the country. With urgency less of a requirement than past off seasons, UCLA may be looking to rebuild for the more distant future.
After 10 seasons with the Bruins, Howland was given the boot in the same season he lead UCLA to a Pac-12 Conference regular-season title. Because of Howland’s recent mishaps in the media and track record for unconventional coaching, pressure for UCLA’s next coach may have been drastically lessened.
The Bruins have spent the last five seasons outside of the Sweet 16, and have failed to be ranked in the top 10 since the 2008-09 season. The man possibly responsible for reversing this trend is Butler head coach Brad Stevens.
Stevens is undoubtedly the “sexy pick” for many highly-recognized programs with a coaching vacancy, but the lure of Los Angeles could be enough to persuade the 36-year old away from other pursuers. Not only would Stevens become the center of the college basketball stage in Southern California, but he would have the chance to show his ability to adapt to a new situation.
Every coach loves a new challenge, and recruiting in Los Angeles versus the Midwest would certainly be a change for Stevens.
Everyone in college basketball is trying to snag Stevens to lead their respective programs, but there are four million reasons why Stevens could become the next basketball coach for UCLA. Stevens is the one coach that would be able to return the Bruins to “John Wooden era” greatness, and UCLA will most likely offer him the position.
Stevens has expressed his love for Butler and the situation he is in, but ‘head coach of UCLA basketball’ is no ordinary job offer.
John Engel is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports. John works for ESPNLA 710 AM radio in addition to Rant Sports. Follow: @engelsportsguy.