In the world of sports, coaching changes can often result in strained relationships and lingering animosity between the ousted coach and the program. However, when it comes to former UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland, it appears that the passage of time has only strengthened the bond between him and the Bruins. A heartwarming reunion between Howland and the current head coach, Mick Cronin, at a recent UCLA basketball practice speaks volumes about the enduring affection they share.
- Ben Howland, who led UCLA to three consecutive Final Four appearances and maintained an impressive .685 win percentage over a decade, remains highly regarded by the Bruins’ fan base.
- Mick Cronin, the current head coach of UCLA, has openly praised Howland and considers him a close friend, with a shared passion for coaching and defensive strategies.
- Howland’s continued involvement with the UCLA basketball program underscores the mutual respect and graciousness that exist between him and Cronin.
The official UCLA Men’s Basketball social media account recently posted multiple images capturing the heartwarming moment when Ben Howland joined current head coach Mick Cronin during a Bruins practice session. This unexpected reunion brought back memories of Howland’s successful tenure as UCLA’s head coach, where he guided the team to the pinnacle of college basketball.
During his time at UCLA, Howland had the privilege of coaching talented players such as Kevin Love, Jordan Farmar, Russell Westbrook, Arron Afflalo, Trevor Ariza, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Jrue Holiday, Ryan Hollins, and others. His remarkable achievements on the court, including those three consecutive Final Four appearances, earned him a special place in the hearts of the Bruins faithful.
Born and raised in Santa Barbara, just up the coast from UCLA, Howland considered coaching the Bruins his dream job. After establishing himself as a successful coach at Pittsburgh, he was welcomed with open arms by the UCLA community. While his tenure eventually came to an end, marked by some disappointment, the gratitude and admiration from fans for his contributions to the program have never waned.
Mick Cronin, who now leads the Bruins, has frequently expressed his admiration for Ben Howland and their strong friendship. Both known for their defensive expertise, it’s no surprise that these two coaching minds click so well. In fact, Cronin openly admitted to seeking Howland’s advice before officially accepting the UCLA job, highlighting the respect he holds for his predecessor.
While Ben Howland may have stepped away from the court in his current phase of life, the recent reunion with the UCLA basketball program demonstrates that the ties that bind him to the Bruins are as strong as ever. Thanks to the graciousness of Mick Cronin, Howland can continue to be a part of his cherished alma mater’s basketball legacy, proving that the love for the game and the program never truly fades.
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