WESTWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Ousted UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland, who was fired two days after the Bruins were eliminated from this year’s NCAA tournament, held a news conference Monday afternoon.
Howland thanked the team’s players, the university and his staff.
“There are so many people involved in making this program successful and I’m so appreciative of all of them and all their hard work and dedication these past 10 years,” Howland told reporters. “I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished during my tenure here on and off the floor. I’ve watched our players grow from young men to young adults and have been happy to have been part of their maturation process and development.”
Howland also hinted that he’s looking for another coaching position.
“I’m excited about the future,” he said. “I’m excited about moving forward. I’m looking forward to the next chapter and I’m excited about coaching again. I’m grateful for all the experiences and relationships and feel they’ll contribute toward my continuing growth and success as a coach.”
He also avoided questions about whether he felt the firing was fair since UCLA won the Pac-12 championship this year.
“You know, we had a great year this year,” Howland said. “I’m so proud of our players and our coaches, to win the Pac-12 championship. And it was really a tough break for, number one, Jordan Adams, and number two, our team, to lose arguably our best all-around player and second-leading scorer”
Howland compiled a 233-107 win-loss record and had seven NCAA tournament berths that included a string of three consecutive Final Four appearances from 2006 to 2008.
“I want to thank Ben for all that he has done for UCLA in his 10 seasons in Westwood,” UCLA’s Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said on Sunday. “He embraced our tradition and culture and produced some terrific teams and coached a number of wonderful young men. We wish Ben and his family all the best as they move onto a new chapter in their lives.”