Ben Howland: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ben Howland
Howland at Cerritos High School reunion
Title Head coach
College UCLA
Sport Basketball
Team record 14–18 (8–10)
Born May 28, 1957 (1957-05-28) (age 52)
Place of birth Lebanon, Oregon, USA
Career highlights
Overall 334–171 (.661)
Regional Championships – Final Four (2006, 2007, 2008)
Pac-10 Tournament Championship (2006, 2008)
Pac-10 Regular Season Championship (2006, 2007, 2008)
Big East Tournament Championship (2003)
Big East Regular Season Championship (2002, 2003)
Big Sky Tournament Championship (1998)
Big Sky Regular Season Championship (1997, 1998)
Henry Iba Award (2002)
Naismith College Coach of the Year (2002)
Pac-10 Coach of the Year (2006)
Big East Coach of the Year (2002)
Big Sky Coach of the Year
Playing career
Santa Barbara CC
Weber State
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Gonzaga (asst.)
UC Santa Barbara (asst.)
Northern Arizona

Ben Howland (born May 28, 1957 in Lebanon, Oregon) is an American college head coach of men's basketball.

He has been the head coach of the University of California, Los Angeles since 2003, and recently signed a contract extension through 2015. Aggressive man-to-man defense is the trademark of Ben Howland-coached teams.





Howland first attended Dos Pueblos High School, Goleta, California for a year then transferred to Cerritos High School, Cerritos, where he earned his diploma. While at Cerritos he was a two-time All-CIF and two-time Suburban League Most Valuable Player in basketball.

After high school Howland played college basketball at Santa Barbara City College and Weber State University, and later played professional basketball in Uruguay. He was known as a defensive specialist.

He earned a degree in physical education at Weber State and a master's degree in administration at Gonzaga University.[1]

Career background

Howland wanted to be a coach since his teenage years living in Santa Barbara. At the age of twenty-four, he became a graduate assistant at Gonzaga University. His childhood friend Jay Hillock, the new head coach, recruited Howland. At Gonzaga, one of Howland's duties was to guard future NBA player John Stockton in practice.[2]

After a year at Gonzaga he got his first paid coaching job at the University of California, Santa Barbara (1982–1994) as an assistant coach to Ed DeLacy. After Jerry Pimm replaced DeLacy in 1983, Howland helped Pimm lead the Gauchos to five post-season appearances between 1988 and 1994. Starting in 1992, Howland applied for head coaching jobs at UC Irvine and Loyola Marymount University but was turned down both times.[3]

Early head coaching career

Howland's first head coaching job was at Northern Arizona University (1994–99). Under Howland, Northern Arizona captured the Big Sky Conference Championship in the 1996-97 season. He then led the Lumberjacks to the Big Sky Tournament Championship the following year, sending them to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. While at NAU, he was considered for head coaching jobs at UC Irvine again and at UCSB, but again was turned down.[3] He later ended up replacing Ralph Willard at the University of Pittsburgh, a member of the Big East Conference. While at Pittsburgh, Howland rebuilt the Panthers basketball program and obtained an NIT bid his second season, followed by back-to-back Big East regular-season conference titles and NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances. He also took Pitt to three straight Big East Championship games, winning the 2003 tournament title, the first in school history. In 2002, Howland also earned several national coach-of-the-year awards. Howland's win-loss record at Pitt was 89–40 (.690) with four consecutive post-season bids.

UCLA head coach

Despite the relative success of Steve Lavin in previous years, which included an appearance in the Elite 8 and 5 Sweet 16 appearances, the program fell far short of UCLA tradition and was perceived to be deteriorating under his watch. The program had fallen behind both Stanford and Arizona in performance and in recruiting. The highly touted athletes that Lavin recruited often left early before they could leave their mark (e.g. Baron Davis). Even the success in the tournament belied the fact that UCLA had earned no better than a number 4 seed with the exception of the 1997 season. The 2002-03 season turned out to be the back-breaker for Lavin as the Bruins stumbled to a 10–19 record and a 6–12 record in the conference. It was the first losing season for UCLA in over five decades. Lavin was dismissed following the season.

UCLA looked to find a coach that could move the Bruins back to the elite ranks of the Pac-10 and the country. Howland's success at the University of Pittsburgh and his southern California roots made him an attractive candidate. In 2003, he accepted the only job he said he would ever contemplate leaving Pitt for: the head coaching duties at UCLA.[4] UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero, who declined to hire Howland at UC Irvine in 1997,[3] felt that Howland's Big East style of basketball, characterized by a slow down offense and lock-down man on man defense, would vault the program to the top of the Pac-10. However, Howland came into a program at the bottom of the Pac-10 with a roster not suited to his style. In his first season the club finished 11-17 and 7-11 in the conference. Howland remedied this disappointment in his recruiting efforts. Howland produced a top tier recruiting class from athletes in southern California that fit his Big East style. Behind Lavin hold-over Dijon Thompson and Howland recruits Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo UCLA produced a winning season for the first time in three years and returned to the tournament. Despite losing in the first round the foundation had been set for future success.

Starting the 2005-06 season with the majority of the roster made over in Howland's image and with the Lavin hold-overs buying into the system (i.e. Ryan Hollins and Cedric Bozeman) the Bruins produced an excellent campaign. They finished the regular season 24–6, winning the Pac-10 Conference title. They then roared through the Pac-10 tournament, winning each game by double digits en route to only the second Pac-10 tournament championship in school history. The momentum continued into the NCAA tournament as the second-seeded Bruins staged a memorable late-game comeback to defeat Gonzaga in the Sweet Sixteen. They then upset top-seeded Memphis to reach the school's first Final Four in 11 years. The run ended against Florida in the championship game whose imposing front-line proved to be a matchup problem for the Bruins.

At the end of the 2005–2006 season, he and UCLA football coach Karl Dorrell received pay bonuses after coaching successful seasons.

Howland continued his success at UCLA the following year. The Bruins finished undefeated at home for the first time in 22 years, winning the Pac-10 conference title. However they lost in their first Pac-10 tournament game and were seeded second in the NCAA Tournament West Region. UCLA turned a tight opening into a blowout over Howland's alma mater Weber State in the first round. After a close second-round win over Indiana, Howland led the Bruins to a win over his former team, Pitt, coached by his former assistant, Jamie Dixon, in the Sweet Sixteen. The Bruins then again upset the top seed in the West Region, Kansas, in a classic matchup of two storied basketball programs and reached the second of UCLA's first consecutive Final Fours since the John Wooden era, only to lose again to Florida in the national semifinal.

At the start of the 2007-08 season, expectations for UCLA were the highest ever with the arrival of Kevin Love, one of the best low-post prospects in the high school class of 2007 [1]. Combined with the emergence of Russell Westbrook and Darren Collison in the back-court, the Bruins won their 3rd consecutive Pac-10 conference title, and their second Pac-10 tournament title in three years. They received their first #1 seed in the NCAA tournament since 1995, and once again reached the Final Four, where they faced another top seed, the Memphis Tigers. Memphis got the better of the Bruins, who returned to Westwood without a championship once again.

Howland is among a handful of NCAA Division I coaches to take three different teams to the NCAA tournament: Northern Arizona, Pittsburgh and UCLA.

Playing career


Big East Coach of the Year.
National Coach of the Year: AP, Naismith, USBWA, ESPN Magazine, and The Sporting News.
USBWA District Coach of the Year.
Basketball America Big East Coach of the Year.
Basketball Times Big East Coach of the Year.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review City of Champions Award.
  • 2003: Dapper Dan Award, honoring Pittsburgh's Sportsman of the Year.
  • 2004: Howland's 1997-98 Northern Arizona club inducted into the Northern Arizona University Athletic Hall of Fame.
  • 2005-06:
Pac-10 Conference Coach of the Year. Coach of the Year.

Head coaching record

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Northern Arizona (Big Sky Conference) (1994–1999)
1994–1995 Northern Arizona 9–17 4–10 7th
1995–1996 Northern Arizona 7–19 3–11 7th
1996–1997 Northern Arizona 21–7 13–1 1st NIT First Round
1997–1998 Northern Arizona 21–8 12–2 1st NCAA First Round
1998–1999 Northern Arizona 21–8 12–4 2nd
Northern Arizona: 79–59 44–28
Pittsburgh (Big East Conference) (1999–2003)
1999–2000 Pittsburgh 13–15 5–11 11th
2000–2001 Pittsburgh 19–14 7–9 5th (West) NIT Second Round
2001–2002 Pittsburgh 29–6 13–3 1st (West) NCAA Sweet 16
2002–2003 Pittsburgh 28–5 13–3 T–1st (West) NCAA Sweet 16
Pittsburgh: 89–40 38–26
UCLA (Pacific-10 Conference) (2003–present)
2003–2004 UCLA 11–17 7–11 T–7th
2004–2005 UCLA 18–11 11–7 T–3rd NCAA First Round
2005–2006 UCLA 32–7 14–4 1st NCAA Runner-up
2006–2007 UCLA 30–6 15–3 1st NCAA Final Four
2007–2008 UCLA 35–4 16–2 1st NCAA Final Four
2008–2009 UCLA 26–9 13–5 2nd NCAA Second Round
2009–2010 UCLA 14–18 8–10 T-5th
UCLA: 166–72 75–32
Total: 334–171

      National Champion         Conference Regular Season Champion         Conference Tournament Champion
      Conference Regular Season & Conference Tournament Champion       Conference Division Champion


  • Sciullo, Sam, Jr. (2005). Pitt: 100 Years of Pitt Basketball. Champaign: Sports Publishing. ISBN 1-59670-081-5. .


External links

Preceded by
Ralph Willard
University of Pittsburgh Men's Basketball Head Coach
Succeeded by
Jamie Dixon


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address