UCLA Bruins: Why Mike Brown Would Fit In Westwood

By John Engel
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It didn’t take long for former Lakers head coach Mike Brown to find himself unemployed in 2012. Brown was fired after a 1-4 start in Los Angeles because of major disagreements between coaches, players and ownership. For every reason Brown was axed in the NBA, however, he would be a perfect fit for the UCLA Bruins.

UCLA fired men’s basketball coach Ben Howland after the Bruins failed to reach the sweet 16 benchmark once again in 2013.

Brown was released by the Lakers because of criticism for working players too hard during practices, and disregarding demands by elite talent such as Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard. This reason alone would make Brown an excellent option for the Bruins.

UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero has expressed a desire for the next coach of the Bruins to have NBA experience, and of the short list of possible candidates only Brown and former Lakers head coach Mike Dunleavy have adequate resumes. Brown already has the support of UCLA boosters and fans.

It was rumored, and later confirmed, that Butler head coach Brad Stevens was atop UCLA’s wish list to fill the position. Stevens was offered the position, and given the terms of the contract, but later declined. Virginia Commonwealth head coach Shaka Smart was also a preferred candidate before he signed an extension with the Rams.

Brown has a lot to gain by becoming the next coach of the Bruins. Money isn’t the guiding factor for Brown — UCLA will most likely offer the next head coach an offer averaging $2.3 million — because he is still on the Lakers’ books for $12 million over the next three years. Brown also knows how to handle the pressure of the Los Angeles spotlight, and how to cultivate prima donna stars that find their way to Westwood.

With his “big name” and unparalleled qualifications, Brown would make a perfect coach for the UCLA Bruins. After how Howland left the program, what’s the worse thing that could happen?


John Engel is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports. John works for ESPNLA 710 AM radio in addition to Rant Sports. Follow: @engelsportsguy.

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