Butler Bulldogs head coach Brad Stevens is the top target to replace recently fired Ben Howland as the head coach for the UCLA Bruins, according to sources with knowledge informing ESPN of the situation.
On Wednesday, Shaka Smart of Virginia Commonwealth ended all speculation of him possibly moving to the Pac-12 by signing a contract extension that extended him through 2023. With Smart off the table, UCLA is looking to one of the most successful young coaches in the college game today in Stevens.
Earlier in the week, UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said that the school would “not comment on the process, the candidates, or provide status updates.” In a text message to ESPN, Stevens did not waver from his commitment to Butler, saying he would not comment on “any other speculation or situation.”
Back in 2010, Stevens was targeted by schools such as Oregon, Wake Forest and Clemson but ultimately decided to sign an extension with Butler through the 2021-22 season. Making around $1 million per season as the Bulldogs coach, he could expect a big bump in salary and resources if he were to make the jump to UCLA. Howland was making $2.3 million as UCLA’s coach.
Other coaches on UCLA’s radar include North Carolina State’s Mark Gottfried and Washington’s Lorenzo Romar.
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