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March 24, 2013

Searching for UCLA's next head coach

Coaching Hot Board

The Dream Candidates
The coaches below have a solid resume, are believed to be realistic options and fit the mold of what UCLA is looking for in a coach, bottom line.

Brad Stevens

1. Brad Stevens - Butler HC

Good Fit- Stevens has turned Butler into a powerhouse, taking it deep into the NCAA Tournament multiple times in his career. He's also a young 36, has a personality that would mesh well with fans, boosters and Los Angeles media members, and he too would come at a price that wouldn't require UCLA to back up the truck on his lawn.

Bad Fit- Like Shaka Smart (below), he's been linked to just about every job opening in the last few years, and has turned them all down. He also lacks West Coast ties, doesn't have a track record of recruiting or coaching high-major players, and reportedly loves his job and his home in Indiana.

Reported Contract- Stevens is reportedly making $1 million per year.

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/29) -Multiple reports say Stevens has turned down UCLA's offer and will remain at Butler.

Shaka Smart 2. Shaka Smart - VCU HC

Good Fit - Smart has taken VCU to four-straight 27-plus-win seasons, an NCAA Final Four and two more NCAA Tournaments after that. If he can do that there, imagine what he can do in Westwood. At 35 years old, he's young, innovative and can relate to recruits in any part of the country - especially Los Angeles. He also plays the style of basketball UCLA fans want to see, and UCLA could give him a significant raise without breaking the bank for him.

Bad Fit - Smart has been linked with virtually every job opening in the last two years, and he's turned them all down. Plus, he doesn't have West Coast ties and outside of four great years at VCU, his resume isn't the best on this list.

Reported Contract - Without incentives, Smart is reportedly making $1.15 million per year.

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/27) - Smart reportedly reached an agreement with VCU Wednesday afternoon. He is now out of the running for the UCLA job.

Billy Donovan

3. Billy Donovan - Florida HC

Good Fit - Donovan would be the biggest splash UCLA could make in this coaching search. He's still relatively young at age 47, he's a proven winner with two national championships and multiple deep Tournament runs under his belt, and he's a heck of a recruiter. Landing him would be UCLA's Holy Grail this hoops offseason.

Bad Fit - He's been at Florida for nearly two decades, he perennially has national championship caliber teams, he's making outstanding money and he's turned down NBA jobs before. There aren't too many reasons why he'd leave Florida for UCLA.

Reported Contract - Donovan is reportedly making around $3.5 million per year.

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/24) - Donovan's team is still in the NCAA Tournament and he likely will not have a comment on the job opening for several days - if not weeks.

Rick Pitino

4. Rick Pitino - Louisville HC

Good Fit - Much like Donovan, Pitino has it all: the rings, the high-major recruiting track record, the ability to deal with big-time media - everything. Pitino is a proven winner who can take big programs to all-time highs.

Bad Fit - Pitino has built a powerhouse at Louisville, owning some of the best players, facilities and coaches in the nation. Plus, it would cost UCLA about double what it would probably like to pay a new coach to land him.

Reported Contract - Pitino is reportedly making around $4 million per year.

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/24) - Pitino's team is still very much alive in the NCAA Tournament, and it's likely he won't comment on the UCLA job until much after his team gets eliminated.

Bill Self

5. Bill Self - Kanas HC

Good Fit - Just like Pitino and Donovan, Self is a proven winner at a high-major, blueblood basketball school. He has national championships on his resume, and outside of Kentucky, there aren't many programs in the country that recruit better than his Kanas squads.

Bad Fit - Also just like Pitino and Donovan, there's no real incentive for Self to leave his current situation. One of the most dominant coaches in college basketball, Self is making great money, hauling in big-time recruits and filling his gym with fans game in and game out.

Reported Contract - Self is reportedly making around $3.85 million per year.

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/24) - With his team still going strong in the NCAA Tournament, there likely won't be any comments on the UCLA job for days and weeks to come.

Other Probable Candidates
The names below are likely "second tier" candidates for the UCLA job, but still very worthy of the consideration.

Mark Gottfried 6. Mark Gottfried - N.C. State HC

Good Fit - A long-time UCLA assistant coach, Gottfried has roots in Westwood. After spending eight seasons with the Bruins two decades ago, he knows the recruiting landscape and the L.A. media market. Gottfried is also a proven recruiter and plays the style of basketball that Bruins fans would like to see.

Bad Fit - Despite having several big name players, Gottfried's teams haven't always performed up to par, highlighted by this week's NCAA Tournament. Gottfried also had several underwhelming years at Alabama, and wouldn't be as big of a name as the aforementioned five coaches.

Reported Contract - Gottfried reportedly makes $1.95 million per year.

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/29) - According to a source close to the Gottfried situation, he is still very interested in UCLA despite a tweet about a commitment to N.C. State earlier this week. The problem, outside of a Bruin fanbase that would detest this hire, is his buyout. At a reported $3.5 million-plus, UCLA couldn't be able to pay his buyout, Howland's buyout and then give him a contract as well.

Lorenzo Romar 7. Lorenzo Romar - Washington HC

Good Fit - Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. Romar would clean up Los Angeles and California at UCLA, nabbing four- and five-stars all over the state. In fact, if he came to UCLA, the Bruins would not only secure Zach LaVine's commitment, but they might even have a shot at the No. 1 player on the West Coast, Aaron Gordon. He's also a former UCLA assistant and has all kinds of ties to the area and boosters.

Bad Fit - He hasn't made the NCAA Tournament in three years and is widely regarded as a coach who can bring in talent, but can't necessarily coach it. Plus, UCLA needs to make a fan-friendly hire, and after watching Romar's teams plod through the Pac-12 mud the last couple years, Bruin fans wouldn't be ecstatic about this pick.

Reported Contract - He's reportedly making around $1.7 million per year.

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/29) - As candidates start falling off of this list, Romar's name keeps getting hotter. Bruin fans still appear to despise this idea, but according to nearly every coach, recruiting handler and other sources associated with Romar and UCLA, he would absolutely clean up recruiting in Westwood and would have some of the most talented Bruins teams in years. Still, an expensive buyout appears likely, and UCLA's fanbase may derail this as well.

Gregg Marshall 8. Gregg Marshall - Wichita State HC

Good Fit - He's turned Wichita State into a dominant program, winning 25-or-more games for four years. He also has his team in the Elite Eight, something Wichita State could have never imagined five or six years ago.

Bad Fit - He has no West Coast ties, and there are some in the Division I ranks raising eyebrows about his relationship with Junior Colleges.

Reported Contract - Marshall is reportedly making around $900,000 a year.

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/29) - Marshall's stock has skyrocketed because of his NCAA Tournament run. He's now, at least in the eyes of Bruin fans and boosters, firmly a solid tier two choice for UCLA with Smart and Stevens gone. According to multiple reports, tweets and interviews, he has no interest in the UCLA job right now. Although nobody would expect him to say anything different during this big run he's having.

Fred Hoiberg 9. Fred Hoiberg - Iowa State HC

Good Fit - A former NBA player and personnel guy, Hoiberg can no doubt handle the media and the pressure of Los Angeles. The job he's done at Iowa State - making two nice runs in back-to-back years - is also impressive, and getting players like Royce White and other high-major kids to play well has been quite the feat as well.

Bad Fit - Hoiberg's name is now being tossed around for potential NBA head coaching vacancies. If UCLA were to land him, the looming NBA gigs could have the Bruins looking for a new head coach in just a few years if he's successful.

Reported Contract - Hoiberg is reportedly making around $1.5 million per year.

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/24) - Hoiberg figures to be a hot name both on the college level and the NBA level this offseason. For now, he's offered up no connections between he and the job opening at UCLA.

Mike Brown 10. Mike Brown - Ex-Los Angeles Lakers HC

Good Fit - He's coached Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. That's about all you would need to hear to sell recruits and fans on this one.

Bad Fit - There's a noticeable stain on Brown after his Lakers collapse. He also has no Division I coaching experience and there's no gaurantee he would even want to come and commit to a college long-term.

Reported Contract - N/A

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/26) - Nothing substantial at all has come from Brown and UCLA. Although if the Bruins whiff on their top targets, they need to make a signing that would still ignite the fan base. A former NBA coach who can promise big recruits and an exciting brand of basketball wouldn't hurt anyone.

Tad Boyle 11. Tad Boyle - Colorado HC

Good Fit - Boyle has flipped Colorado into a Pac-12 favorite, and he's done it by actually out-recruiting Ben Howland in his own backyard. He picks up long athletes who can play defense and have high cielings - something thriving programs like San Diego State, Arizona and UNLV have made a killing on out in the West Coast recently.

Bad Fit - Despite back-to-back solid years at Colorado, there's still not much meat on his resume for UCLA fans and boosters to really sink their teeth into.

Reported Contract - Boyle reportedly makes around $200,000 a year, but has incentives in his contract that can increase that drastically.

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/24) - Boyle may not be the sexiest name on this list, but his West Coast recruiting efforts the last two seasons have been undeniable. That surely has UCLA interested, although according to those close with Boyle and the Buff program, he's not interested in leaving Boulder at this time.

The Unlikely Candidates
The names below are likely last-ditch candidates for the UCLA job, who the Bruins may only consider if the aforementioned coaches bow out.

Rodney Terry 12. Rodney Terry - Fresno State HC

Good Fit - Like a lot of candidates on this list, Terry is all about recruiting. Reportedly responsible for bringing Kevin Durant, Tristan Thompson and Myck Kabongo to Texas when he was an assistant there, Terry is another coach who could make a haul at UCLA.

Bad Fit - With only two years of head coaching experience, and no immediate success at Fresno State, it'd be hard to justify UCLA landing him here and now.

Reported Contract - He's reportedly making around $350,000 a year.

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/29) - Terry's name just sprung up late this week, and given his recruiting ties across the country, it at least makes some sense. UCLA would have to go far down its list to arrive here, however.

Jay Wright 13. Jay Wright - Villanova HC

Good Fit - Wright has turned Villanova into a perennial NCAA Tournament team, and he's made some waves while he's been there. With a final four appearance on his resume and a couple Sweet 16's, he knows how to get a program to where it wants to be. Wright is also a solid recruiter, hauling in four-stars with relative ease at Villanova.

Bad Fit - There's not a lot about Wright that suggests he could thrive in a market like Los Angeles. A member of a smaller program since 1994, Wright has never seen the coaching pressure like he would see at UCLA.

Reported Contract - Wright reportedly makes around $2 million a year.

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/24) - With Wright's contract reportedly set to expire after this year, he could be looking for a new landing spot. He would likely hear UCLA if it came calling, but that conversation may never take place.

Mark Few 14. Mark Few - Gonzaga HC

Good Fit - Few owns quite possibly the best program on the West Coast. His teams never lose in the regular season and often find solid success in the NCAA Tournament. He's also a strong West Coast recruiter and has coaches on his staff that would make great assistants at UCLA as well (see Donny Daniels).

Bad Fit - Few has been coaching at Gonzaga for nearly three decades, and much like Brad Stevens, he appears to be comfortable where he's at.

Reported Contract - Few reportedly makes around $1 million per year.

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/24) - Like Stevens and other powerhouse coaches on this list, Few has found tremendous success with very little pressure at his current job. While UCLA could triple his salary, it still doesn't appear likely that he's headed south to Westwood.

Randy Bennet

15. Randy Bennett - St. Mary's HC

Good Fit - Bennett has taken obscure St. Mary's and has moved it into the constant limelight. A regular now in NCAA Tournaments, Bennett's teams always play hard and he's become a well-known player on the West Coast.

Bad Fit - Bennett and St. Mary's were found guilty of recruiting violations earlier this year and the program suffered some big sanctions because of it. Bennett has also reportedly turned down several Pac-12 jobs recently, seeming to be content with where he's at.

Reported Contract - Bennett's salary is currently unknown.

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/24) - The NCAA sanctions and rulings will likely kill his chances at coming to UCLA. The Bruins are certainly looking for a coach with a cleaner record than Bennett for now.

Tommy Amaker 16. Tommy Amaker - Harvard HC

Good Fit - Amaker has taken Harvard from a nothing into a legitimate NCAA Tournament contender in just about five years. He's recruited extremely well and, as evidenced by his NCAA Tournament win this weekend, he can clearly coach.

Bad Fit - While under some not-so-great circumstances at Michigan, inheriting an NCAA troubled program, Amaker didn't fare well in his last high-major stop. The head coach went six years without an NCAA Tournament bid, and was ultimately fired after not producing there.

Reported Contract - Amaker's salary is unknown.

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/24) - After his big win in the NCAA Tournament this weekend, demonstrating the ability to play a great style of basketball, Amaker's name is going to get thrown out for the UCLA job. It remains to be seen if there's any actual teeth to those rumors, however.

Andy Enfield 17. Andy Enfield - Florida Gulf Coast HC

Good Fit - He's America's sweetheart right now, taking a no-name school to the Sweet 16. He could be the next Brad Stevens or Shaka Smart.

Bad Fit - He probably doesn't have enough head coaching experience to get away with landing a job of this proportion. While he is an ex-NBA assistant and he's an up-and-comer, there's just not enough there to justify taking the chance at this stage in UCLA's program.

Reported Contract - Enfield reportedly makes $157,500 per year.

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/26) - Enfield is living the dream in the Sweet 16 right now, and likely won't have any involvement with UCLA until way down the road - if at all.

Reggie Theus 18. Reggie Theus - Los Angeles D-Fenders HC

Good Fit - Theus has great ties to the Los Angeles area, and AAU coaches in the area love him as well. He's also an ex-NBA head coach, which would immediately resonate with recruits, and he's had success at the college ranks before, taking New Mexico State to an NCAA Tournament.

Bad Fit - He hasn't coached college basketball since 2006-07, and really hasn't coached much since 2008. He also was reportedly turned down for the DePaul job in 2010.

Reported Contract - N/A

The Latest on his connection with UCLA (3/26) - Theus' name is starting to be floated around in UCLA circles. The Bruins need to make a splash, and an ex-NBA player and ex-NBA head coach could do the trick. He's also reportedly a leading candidate for the CSU Northridge job.



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