Ben Howland fired after 10 seasons coaching UCLA

03/25/2013 2:14 AM ET
By Matt Hughes

Ben Howland was fired after his UCLA Bruins fell to the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the NCAA tournament.(AP)
Ben Howland has been fired as the head coach at UCLA. One of college basketball's premier programs will begin an immediate search for a new head coach.

UCLA released an official statement on Howland's firing on Sunday. Howland's 10 years as head coach is highlighted by three consecutive Final Four appearances from 2006 - 2008. UCLA won the Pac-12 regular season championship but was eliminated as a No. 6 seed in the first round of the NCAA tournament by Minnesota on Friday. Howland leaves UCLA with a 233-107 record.

Speculation around Howland's replacement has already revolved around Butler's Brad Stephens and VCU's Shaka Smart. Butler and VCU were both eliminated in the round of 32 over the weekend, meaning both coaches are available should UCLA come calling.

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few is also considered a potential candidate at UCLA. Few, a perennial focus of coaching rumors, has said repeatedly that he has no desire to leave Gonzaga.

In other college basketball coaching news, Pittsburgh signed head coach Jamie Dixon to a 10-year extension earlier in the week. He was rumored to be in line for the open position at USC. Dixon is currently working as a studio analyst for CBS after his Pitt squad was knocked out in the round of 64.

The up-start success of Andy Enfeld at Florida Gulf Coast University and John Giannini at La Salle in this year's tournament is sure to attract the attention of major programs seeking a new coach.

UCLA, USC and Northwestern headline the major conference programs seeking a new head coach.


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