We discussed the media-generated rumors that Mark Gottfried will be a candidate at UCLA in this entry yesterday. Today, Joe Giglio highlights that pursuing Gottfried would be very expensive for the Bruins.
If UCLA is interested in N.C. State’s Mark Gottfried to replace Ben Howland, it would cost the Bruins.
Gottfried, who led N.C. State to the NCAA tournament in his first two seasons, has a $3.75 million buyout in his contract.
UCLA is expected to pursue Virginia Commonwealth’s Shaka Smart and Butler’s Brad Stevens, according to the Los Angeles Times, but Gottfried has multiple connections to the Pac-12 power.
Gottfried spent eight seasons as an assistant to Jim Harrick at UCLA, including the 1994-95 season, when the Bruins won their last national title â€” and only one since the legendary John Wooden retired in 1975.
Gottfried also had a student-mentor relationship with Wooden, while Gottfried was an assistant to the Bruins, and has implemented the principles of Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success” at N.C. State.
UCLA fired Howland on Sunday, a move that will cost the school $3.5 million in a buyout, according to the Times. Howland went 233-107 in 10 seasons at UCLA with three trips to the Final Four.
There have been problems inside the program, as detailed in a Sports Illustrated story last February, and also with attendance. The financial reasons are one of the primary motives UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero made the decision to dismiss Howland.
UCLA spent $138 million to renovate Pauley Pavilion and the average attendance this season was 9,549, about 4,200 less than capacity. Only five of the 18 homes games attracted more than 10,000 fans.
Howland brought in one of the top recruiting classes last season, and played a more up-tempo style in going 25-10 and winning the Pac-12 regular-season title, but his best teams were known for a grinding, defensive style.
“We will look for someone who plays a fun brand of basketball,” Guerrero said, according to the Times. “We don’t want to bring in a coach who averages 50 points per game.”
It’s unclear if UCLA will pursue Gottfried or if his connections to Harrick will be viewed as a positive or a negative. Harrick’s the only UCLA coach, other than Wooden, to win a national title but he was fired before the start of the 1996-97 season after setting off an NCAA investigation that concluded his program provided improper benefits to players, recruits and a club team coach.
Gottfried still has a close relationship with Harrick, who lives in California but attended a handful of N.C. State games the past two seasons, including last Friday’s loss to Temple in Dayton, Ohio.
Two members of Gottfried’s N.C. State staff, Larry Farmer and Jeff Dunlap, also have UCLA connections. Farmer, Gottfried’s director of player development, was a star player for Wooden in the early 1970s and was UCLA’s head coach for three seasons in the early 1980s. Dunlap, N.C. State’s director of operations, played for Farmer at UCLA.
Gottfried’s contract with N.C. State was reworked last September and extended through the 2017-18 season. The buyout calls for the amount of his base salary ($750,000) for each of the five seasons remaining on his contract.