Multiple outlets are reporting that UCLA has notified head coach Ben Howland he has been fired.
UPDATE 10 p.m: UCLA has just issued a statement saying, “Contrary to multiple media reports this evening UCLA has not fired men’s basketball coach Ben Howland.”
The first to do so (that I saw) was Adam Zagoria out of New York. He’s pretty plugged into college hoops. Here’s his story from early Saturday afternoon.
Yahoo!, among others, has also now jumped on the story.
Inevitably, Lorenzo Romar’s name will be mentioned somewhere along the line now that the UCLA job appears open, since he has strong Los Angeles ties and was an assistant at UCLA from 1992-96. Romar agreed to a 10-year contract extension with Washington in 2010 and his contract is reviewed by the school every two years. He is paid $1.7 million annually, plus bonuses. He contends he wants to finish his career at Washington. A move for him seems unlikely.
Howland was 230-105 with UCLA and went to three Final Fours. Prior to his reported dismissal, he was one of three active coaches who went to three consecutive Final Fours. The other two are Tom Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski.
The Bruins were bounced in the first round of the tournament this year by Minnesota. They were also playing without one of their top three players, Jordan Adams, who broke his foot on the final play of the Pac-12 Tournament semifinal against Arizona.
In other coaching news, Jamie Dixon signed a 10-year extension with Pitt, which takes him out of the running for the vacant USC job.
The LA schools will be simultaneously conducting coaching searches, which means two coaches are about to be paid a large amount.