"Decisions like this are always tough," said Guerrero about his decision to release Lavin. "However, if this program is to regain its place among the nation's elite, I felt a change was required.
"Steve has enjoyed some important accomplishments during his tenure at UCLA -- six trips to the NCAA tournament and five trips to the Sweet 16 among them. But my assessment of future success had to be based upon what I have observed this year. When all is said and done, I considered what our goals for this program should be and the process necessary to achieve those goals.
"My conclusion was that for UCLA basketball to flourish, a change in leadership was necessary. We certainly wish Steve the very best in his future endeavors. In addition, I want to acknowledge his dignity in handling his situation during difficult times this season," Guerrero said.
Lavin, 38, who compiled a record of 145-78 in his seven years as head coach, had five years remaining on his contract. The contract buyout consists of one year of the full package of $578,000 and four years at the base salary of $153,000.
Prior to his becoming interim head coach in November of 1996, Lavin served as an assistant coach for five seasons (1992-96).