Tuesday March 24th, 2015

Ben Howland, who was hired as the new basketball coach at Mississippi State on Monday, made a surprise visit to some students in a government class on Tuesday.

Howland threw out some T-shirts and made sure to take a few selfies with the members of his new fan base.

The students seemed pretty happy to meet the new coach and to pick up a few souvenirs.

Howland, who has worked as a television analyst since leaving UCLA after the 2012-2013 season, brings a 399-208 record over 19 seasons as a Division I coach to Starkville, including three consecutive Final Four appearances with the Bruins from 2006-08.

Howland has been to the NCAA tournament 10 times — once at Northern Arizona, twice at Pitt and seven times in 10 seasons at UCLA.

He replaces Rick Ray, who was fired after the Bulldogs were 12-19 this season, their third losing season in three years under Ray.

- Phil Watson

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