Status on UCLA coach Howland still up in the air

LOS ANGELES — Ben Howland denied a report Saturday night that he had been told he was out as UCLA's basketball coach.

Howland said he had not yet spoken to Athletic Director Dan Guerrero, who in the past has handled such personnel moves personally.

It is expected that Howland will be replaced, but Yahoo Sports reported that he had already been notified.

"Contrary to multiple media reports this evening, UCLA has not fired men's basketball coach Ben Howland," said UCLA Athletics spokesman Nick Ammazzalorso.

Howland has a 233-107 record in 10 seasons at UCLA. He took the Bruins to three Final Fours and won four conference championships.

Howland's contract, which has two years remaining, includes a $2.3-million buyout.

UCLA officials will focus on Virginia Commonwealth Coach Shaka Smart and Butler Coach Brad Stevens, a person close to the athletic department said. UCLA will also consider an ex-NBA coach, the person said.

Virginia Commonwealth and Butler were eliminated from the NCAA tournament Saturday.

Changes were expected in the wake of the Bruins' 83-63 loss to Minnesota in the NCAA tournament Friday. UCLA won the Pac-12 regular-season title and finished 25-10, but that was not considered enough for Howland to be retained.


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