UCLA fires Howland after 10 seasons as Bruins’ coach

LOS ANGELES — UCLA fired Ben Howland on Sunday night after 10 seasons as Bruins coach that included three Final Four appearances, but culminated with another early-round exit from the NCAA tournament.

Athletic director Dan Guerrero told Howland earlier in the day that he was out.

Howland had a 233-107 record in Westwood, including three consecutive Final Four appearances from 2006-08 and four Pac-12 championships, including this season. The Bruins’ season ended last Friday with an 83-63 loss to Minnesota in the NCAA tournament.

“I have been blessed with the opportunity to coach at UCLA for 10 years,” he said in a statement through the university. “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.”

Howland had two years left on his contract that included a $2.3 million buyout.

This season opened with star recruits Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson under investigation by the NCAA.

Muhammad missed the first three games and had to repay $1,600 in impermissible benefits after the NCAA and UCLA found that he had accepted travel and lodging during three unofficial visits to Duke and North Carolina.

Anderson was cleared to play after being investigated for potential recruiting violations.

That was just the beginning of the problems that roiled the program during the season.

Center Joshua Smith quit the team for personal reasons and guard Tyler Lamb left over a lack of playing time in the same week in November that the Bruins were upset by Cal Poly and dropped out of the Top 25.

The Bruins rallied to win the Pac-12 regular-season title and then lost to Oregon in the tournament title game playing without freshman Jordan Adams, who broke his foot in the semifinals. His absence hurt the Bruins in their second-round loss to Minnesota in the NCAAs.

A year ago, UCLA’s season ended in turmoil after the Bruins went 19-14 and missed the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years. Howland kicked standout Reeves Nelson off the team and an unflattering Sports Illustrated article suggested that the coach had lost control of the team.

But Howland bought himself more time with his best recruiting class since the program made those three straight Final Four appearances ending in 2008.

Muhammad, Anderson and Adams had standout seasons as freshmen, although Muhammad is expected to leave early for the NBA draft and futures of Anderson and Adams are uncertain in the wake of Howland’s dismissal.

More in Sports

Local soccer players sacrifice to play with Sounders Academy

The talented youngsters say playing with the Academy has made them better people as well as players.

Paxton, not Felix, deserves Opening Day start for Mariners

Could Seattle’s marriage to the longtime star pitcher be heading for the rocks?

Q&A with Shorecrest’s Julia Strand

Two years ago, Julia Strand was a key player for the Shorecrest… Continue reading

Silvertips travel to Spokane in matchup of in-form teams

Everett has lost once in regulation in its past 19 games, and the Chiefs have won three straight.

Pairings announced for regional basketball playoffs

Lynnwood and Stanwood girls face each other Saturday at Jackson High School

The Herald’s Athletes of the Week for Feb. 11-17

THE HERALD’S PREP ATHLETES OF THE WEEK FOR FEB. 11-17 Mason Phillips,… Continue reading

Marysville Pilchuck boys basketball exceeding expectations

In a preseason Wesco 3A coaches poll, the Marysville Pilchuck boys basketball… Continue reading

Stanwood boys basketball relying on post production

The play of Stanwood boys basketball players Matt Vail and Mitch Jones… Continue reading

Young King’s girls basketball team builds foundation

Dan Taylor teaches freshmen at King’s High School. This year he coached… Continue reading

Most Read