Why Ben Howland Would Be a Good Fit at Washington State

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Mar 22, 2013; Austin, TX, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Rodney Williams (33) dunks the ball in front of UCLA Bruins guard Larry Drew II (10) during the second half in the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament at the Frank Erwin Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

In a not so glorious blaze of black smoke last night, the UCLA Bruins basketball team imploded on Ben Howland and it is over for him at UCLA. Fair or not, the Bruins have a proud tradition of winning that has no place for a first round NCAA Tournament ousting by a #11 seeded Minnesota team. Heck, it has no place for a five season stretch that included only 3 invitations to the Big Dance and never yielded better than a #6 seed in that time.

The resume looks really good overall, but not for the tradition of Westwood and especially not recently. At UCLA Howland took his teams to 3 Final Four’s, but he never won a championship and his last Final Four was in 2008, when they were a #1 seed and lost to runner-up Memphis in the semi-final. Since then the Bruins haven’t even sniffed the Sweet 16. Basically what that means is that in the first 5 years of his UCLA career he posted three Final Four appearances, but in the second 5 year period, he’s posted exactly zero trips to the 2nd weekend of the tourney. When you’re brought in to compete for championships, that won’t get it done.

The other significant thing about 2008? Tony Bennett and the Cougs knocked off the Bruins in Westwood for only the second time in 50 some-odd tries. While they lost at home to UCLA by two and then lost to the Bruins again in the Pac-10 quarterfinals, WSU earned a 4 seed in the Dance and cruised into the Sweet 16 before losing to North Carolina. Of course Bennett took off for Virginia after that season, and there’s no correlation between Howland and the WSU program there, except that WSU beat UCLA the last time either program was really good and then the next time WSU beat them was this season when both programs’ coaches could well be fired.

For WSU head basketball coach Ken Bone, while he may not have been particularly worried after the season ended a week ago (maybe because he knows the financial status of the University), I would imagine he’s sweating a little bit now. Suddenly the door just came wide open for one of the most interesting and dynamic coaching duos in the country with Leach as football coach and Howland as basketball coach.

Continue this fascinating, in depth idea of Ben Howland as WSU’s next basketball coach on the next page

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Tags: Basketball Ken Bone Washington State Cougars

  • Korbin

    Love this idea! I think the only way Ken Bone gets fired, is if we can bring in a high profile coach like Howland. How much money is Moos trying to spend though? Hes shown hes not afraid to pull the trigger to fire a coach before their contract is up.

    • http://Allcougdup.com/ All Coug’d Up

      Like I said in the article, I think between 1 and 1.3 mil, maybe as much as 1.5. He’s not TRYING to spend any, but I think that’s what it would take to lock him up immediately. We all know if Moos wants you, he’s going to lock you up before you can be courted.

      That said I don’t know that Moos is interested in Howland, I just think he would be a good fit and based on the Leach hire seems like something that Moos would pursue. Incredible record, knows the conference, big name, absolute steal of a coach who got ousted because expectations were too high. Except for the last part sounds a lot like Leach.

      Also, I agree that’s the only way Bone is done. I think Moos wanted to see this weekend play out to see what high profile name would be available, then make a call or two before a decision.