All kinds of coaching news breaking this weekend. First, Jamie Dixon gets an extension and now multiple sources are reporting that former Pitt coach Ben Howland has been or will be fired by UCLA. FWIW, Howland is offering the standard 'no comment.' UCLA has also issued a release that he's not been canned.
First things first - if you're concerned about Dixon now bolting for UCLA, don't be. Like all of us knew, Dixon surely knew his mentor Ben Howland was on thin ice out there. If he had any desire to be a candidate, he wouldn't have signed an extension with Pitt. Further, as I've pointed out before, if Dixon and Howland had so much respect for each other that they wouldn't even play a regular season game, why on earth would Dixon replace him where his job would be to outdo Howland? Just no chance of this happening as I see it.
The interesting thing about Howland is where he'll end up. He'll be able to find another job tomorrow if he wants one. And without the Sports Illustrated story that ran earlier, I'd say he would have had a chance at landing a big job. Howland didn't win a title at UCLA, but he went to a championship game and three total Final Fours. Someone would clamor for his services.
Howland had success early on, but had been struggling lately. UCLA failed to reach the NCAAs in two of the past five years. And in the three he did make it, he failed to get past the first weekend.
Where Howland lands will obviously depend on which jobs are open, obviously, but one intriguing/crazy scenario? How about USC where Dixon was rumored to be interested? Howland gets to stay close by, he stays in the conference where he's familiar with the opponents, and perhaps best of all, he's got the revenge factor going against UCLA. Regardless, Howland will land somewhere.
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