Coach Howland thanked a number of people, including:
"I'd like to than my friends and the people that really gave me a chance to get to this level of coaching, and that's Mark Nordenberg, the chancellor of the
"I think the one assistant I need to recognize the most is Jamie Dixon, who was very, very instrumental in building
"It's so great to be back and be close to my mom and my dad. They live in
How emotional is it for you since you said earlier in the year you didn't want to leave Pitt?
"I think you can tell that I'm emotional today. It's a huge day. This is a dream that's come true. To be able to chase a dream that at one time you thought was unimaginable. And to be close to my family, as I am now, and my friends and coaching contacts. That really helps me. We know many people in
Can you take us through the time line of the last couple of weeks in regards to the hiring?
"You guys had it all in the paper. I couldn't put it any better. Unfortunately, our season ended abruptly, way before any of us wanted to. It was a tough lost against
"I got a call in the afternoon on that Friday and indicated to that representative that there was no way I could speak to Ben until such time as we made contact with the
Howland: "It really wasn't consummated until I met with the Chancellor last night and he approved that I'd be a good choice for this position. I wanted it so badly I arranged through some friends to get a
Guerrero: "You'll have to pay."
What has been your thoughts about UCLA trying to get back to where they once were and all the coaching changes they've been through?
"It's a program where you can and should be involved with the very best players in the country. But again you have to understand out of every 10 high-major players, there will only be three, or maybe two, that you can actually recruit because of academic requirements. But of those kids I think there's a great chance to recruit and get those kids. The other thing is, it's another era than it was 20 years ago. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton would not have been at UCLA for more than a year or two in today's landscape. That doesn't mean we still can't have an elite program, year in and year out, doing it the right way, and recruiting the type of kids that can really represent this university and this program in the way that we all want them to."
Have you spoken with your players from
"I would be upset if they weren't disappointed. These kids were so tough, competitive and driven, and they know how much I love them. I'll have an opportunity to see them on Sunday. We had our typical after-the-year meeting on Monday and I explained to them that I was involved with this job. That's about all I can say at that time. And really because of you all it's very difficult to even say that much. I really wanted this job. But after the emotion wears off a little bit about the change in terms of coaches for them, we're going to have friendships that last a lifetime. One of the greatest things about being a coach is the relationships that develop with your players. I have contacted some of the them on the phone after this was consummated. Again, it wasn't consummated until I met the Chancellor. I talked to Chevy Troutman this morning. Missing Jaron Brown's and Julius Page's senior year is really tough for me because they're such great kids. And they've done so much for that program. That program has come a long way in a short time, and the foundation is now built there. There are a lot of people clamoring, fighting for that job right now."
Mr. Guerrero, did you ever attempt to contact other coaches and if so, who? And if not, do you have any reservations about interviewing only one person?
Guerrero: "Don't jump to conclusions about what we did and what we didn't do. This was a very exhaustive process. I indicated from the very beginning we were going to keep this process close to the vest, to protect the integrity of other coaches that may be at other institutions. We felt that was the prudent thing to do. When you go through a process like this, there are a lot of discussions that take place. Going through the whole process, we came up with one individual that we thought was the right individual for this job. So, we pursued it and got the job done. I'm grateful that the process worked the way it did. One must understand that there are other means of transportation than commercial airlines. That doesn't mean that just one individual was spoken to."
Coach Howland, what is your impression of the players on the UCLA team?
"We had a good meeting. They were very attentive, good eye contact. I don't know a lot about them as players or as kids yet. This is all just in the beginning stages. I'm going to meet with each kid individually on Monday. I'm going to go down to
Part Three coming soon...