Ben Howland was fired on March 25 after 10 seasons at UCLA in which he led the Bruins to six NCAA tournament appearances, including three Final Fours. (Harry How/Getty Images)
Recently fired college basketball coach Ben Howland is "intrigued" by the head coaching vacancy at Rutgers and "third-party conversations" have taken place to gauge the two sides' interest, according to CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish.
Howland was fired on March 25 after 10 seasons at UCLA, white Rutgers fired its head coach, Mike Rice, on Thursday amid a scandal over his abuse of players at practices.
The possibility of Rutgers hiring Howland will not become realistic until the school first hires a new athletic director, after also firing Tim Pernetti.
From the CBSSports.com report:
The sources added, however, that it's too early to tell if the situation will develop into anything more because Rutgers president Robert Barchi said Friday the school's new athletic director will be hired before its next men's basketball coach.
In other words, the direction Rutgers goes with its search for a new athletic director will, to some degree, dictate the way Rutgers goes with its search for a new coach. But a source told CBSSports.com that Howland would have some supporters among Rutgers boosters based on his ability to recruit New York while he was the coach at Pittsburgh from 1999 to 2003, and that Howland would be interested because, quite frankly, he'd prefer to jump right back into coaching over sitting out a year.
Howland has compiled a 390-199 career record over his 19 years of head coaching experience at UCLA, Pittsburgh and Northern Arizona. He has led teams to 10 NCAA tournament appearances, including three straight Final Fours with the Bruins (2005-08).
The Scarlet Knights have endured six straight losing seasons and has not made the NCAA tournament since 1991.