Latest on Coaching Search

Various sources have provided us more information today on what's going on in the athletic department, how the coaching search will be conducted, and who are the candidates that will get the most attention from UCLA...

As Athletic Director Dan Guerrero alluded to yesterday, the time frame of the first phase of the search has roughly been allocated to proceed through the end of the Final Four weekend. By that time, UCLA will want to have some indication from the coaches on its list as to whether they have serious interest in the job.

 

There is confirmation that, through intermediaries, UCLA has extended an invitation to Roy Williams, Rick Pitino and Mike Montgomery to consider the job. This means that UCLA would provide some details concerning the position, range of salary, etc., in order for the three to give UCLA an indication if they're serious about pursuing the position.  In line with the Final Four timeframe, UCLA would want to get some indication back from any of these three by that weekend. If any of them, or other serious candidates, are involved in the Final Four, then the search and interview schedule will be adjusted accordingly. 

 

Sources believe that Roy Williams and Mike Montgomery are more likely than Pitino to indicate serious interest in the job. But the likelihood among any of the three is still considered a longshot.

 

As already reported here on BRO, intermediaries between UCLA and Pittsburgh's Ben Howland have made contact and have gone as far as to discuss salary.  According to sources, they are fairly far away at this time in reaching an agreement. 

 

Many believe that this is how both sides want it currently to stand. Howland's camp has shot high in a negotiations stance, in order to naturally, and understandably, get as much money as possible.  UCLA, on the other hand, has also shot low in an effort to negotiate, but also to keep Howland on hold while the possibility of Pitino, Williams and Montgomery is pursued.  For UCLA insiders and the Morgan Center, Howland is becoming the popular choice among the candidates that are reasonable possibilities.  But it's believed that there is a limitation on how long UCLA will tolerate Howland's hard-ball stance.  It's also believed that if Howland's camp agreed to UCLA's terms soon, UCLA would abandon its pursuit of The Big Three.  Howland is, in effect, gambling that it won't get serious between UCLA and the Big Three.

 

Gonzaga's Mark Few continues to be the potential candidate that many around UCLA basketball, and those with some influence, believe has a very good chance at getting the job.  As stated in the article on BRO yesterday, if Pitino, Williams and Montgomery don't show serious interest, and negotiations with Howland are stalled, Few is the likely next target.  The fact that UCLA powers perceive that they wouldn't have the snags in coming to an agreement with Few as they might with Howland, and that Few could possibly be less manipulative in the process, has improved Few's stock with UCLA.  In fact, if Few's stock continues to improve and Howland's continues to stall, Few very well could pass up Howland on the desirability list. 

 

Again, it's another situation where Howland is potentially rolling the dice.

 

Sources indicate, though, that UCLA has interest in many coaches, and it will sort out through the next month which have legitimate interest in the job. Many names might crop up in the next month.  It's believed that, by the time the search process is over, many candidates could interview.

 

 It is accepted in UCLA circles that Rick Majerus will interview for the job.  Many UCLA fans fail to understand why a coach of Majerus' stature, success and reputation doesn't rate higher in the UCLA head coaching stakes. It's very well known that Majerus wants the job, and has coveted it for some time.  Issues such as his weight, health and lifestyle have been cited in the past, but those are really just peripheral issues.  The real stumbling blocks are Majerus's well-known reputation for being almost impossible to work with – for administrators, assistant coaches and players alike.  He doesn't abide by authority, does whatever he wants, and considers himself bigger than the program at Utah. Overall, he creates a difficult environment, mostly dominated by his ego and whim, which no one bucks at Utah.  It's believed that Majerus has the backing of many influential UCLA boosters, but the administration is very resistant, since they'll be the ones dealing with Majerus on a daily basis.  If, though, Majerus does interview, and he can convince Guerrero that he's capable of being a company guy and conducting himself respectively, there is a chance Majerus could be considered seriously.  Sources around UCLA believe that it's unlikely Guerrero will be won over by Majerus.

 

Sources also indicate that Brad Holland will garner an interview – mostly as a nod to his Bruin ties – but it's considered unlikely that he'll get the job.

 

If the search went beyond Few, it's believed that Marquette's Tom Crean, Creighton's Dana Altman, Oregon's Ernie Kent, Lon Kruger and Tim Fl


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