August 19, 2019 | 76° F

Men's Basketball: Former UCLA?head coach interested in Rutgers

Photo by Getty Images |
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 27: Head Coach Ben Howland of the UCLA Bruins along the sidelines during a 79-74 UCLA win over the Arizona State Sun Devils at Pauley Pavilion on February 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ben Howland

Former UCLA head men’s basketball coach Ben Howland has interest in taking over the coaching vacancy at Rutgers, according to CBS Sports.

Before the Scarlet Knights can make a move on Howland or any other coaching candidate, they must first hire a new athletic director.

University President Robert L. Barchi said at a press conference Friday the athletic department’s first priority is to find a replacement for Tim Pernetti, who stepped down in the wake of former head coach Mike Rice’s firing.

But when an athletic director is found, the next step is to replace Rice.

Howland could be a possible candidate for the position, and sources told CBS Sports some boosters would be in favor of Howland as the next coach because of his ties to the area. Howland recruited in New York area from 1999 to 2003 during his time as Pittsburgh’s head coach.

At UCLA, Howland led the Bruins to seven NCAA Tournament appearances in 10 seasons with the program. During that span, UCLA made the Final Four three times. UCLA was the Pac 12 regular-season champion this season with Howland in charge.

But the Bruins lost to Minnesota, 83-63, in the first round of this years’ NCAA Tournament, prompting the school to fire Howland.

While Howland remains a possibility for the Knights, one of Rutgers’ rumored targets has already pulled his name out of contention for the job.

Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley, rumored to be one the university’s top targets, said yesterday on “The Ian O’Connor Show” that Rutgers is not in his plans for next year.

“I’ve had no conversations [with Rutgers],” Hurley said. “Obviously because of the [Hurley] name and because of our history in New Jersey, there’s going to be a natural connection to be made there.”

Under Hurley last season, Rhode Island went 8-21 in the Atlantic 10 in his first year as head coach. Hurley coached the year before at Wagner.

Hurley went 223-21 as the head coach of St. Benedicts of Newark before he took over at Wagner.

Sports Illustrated reported Saturday that Rhode Island and Hurley were close to a two-year contract extension that would keep Hurley with the Rams through the 2020 season.

By Bradly Derechailo

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