March 8, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Ben Howland looks over the wreckage of the UCLA Basketball dumpster fire. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
Chianti Dan has announced that Ben Howland will return, as apparently the "evaluation" has been completed:
I had several discussions with Head Coach Ben Howland before deciding on what was best for the future of UCLA Basketball. Subsequent to these conversations, and in consultation with Chancellor Block, I have made the decision that the UCLA men's basketball program will remain under Coach Howland's leadership and direction.
Obviously, we are aware of the recent criticisms of our men's basketball program; Ben understands full well that the management and oversight of the program needs improvement. He has assured me that, going forward, both the character and performance among our student-athletes will reflect the University's values and the basketball program's storied tradition. I believe that his overall record and performance proves he is more than capable of delivering on these assurances."
Note there's not one word about how disappointing this season has been and how unacceptable the past four years have been, or how it's not acceptable to miss the tournament at UCLA, especially when elite programs still make the tourney in their down years.
Still, this doesn't exactly sound like a ringing endorsement, and we all know that if necessary Chianti Dan will throw anyone under the bus to avoid responsibility for his own leadership failures and save his own job as the highest paid AD in the Pac-12. It looks like Chianti Dan is pinning his hopes on one-and-done teenagers like Shabazz Muhammad. Even if Howland gets a big recruiting class, there's no guarantee that will lead to on-the-court success in 2012-2013 and with the recruiting failures Howland has had in recent years, it seems likely that 2013-2014's roster will be severely depleted.
Howland's record justifies dismissal. Chianti's leadership failures deserve dismissal as well. At least for now, it looks like we'll have to endure another zombie season, but one recruiting class won't fix UCLA basketball's issues and the larger problems with the athletic department can't be solved until Chianti Dan is gone.