As a couple of you have already pointed out, Coach Howland signed a new seven year contract today. From UCLA Sports Information (via LAT):
UCLA head men’s basketball coach Ben Howland and the University have agreed on a new seven-year contract, athletic director Dan Guerrero announced today. The new contract, which runs through the 2014-15 season, includes guaranteed compensation of $1.97 million for the 2008-09 season and escalates to $2.3 million for the 2014-15 season. It also includes the incentive package from his previous contract that has a maximum value of $235,000. [...]
"Ben Howland and UCLA are a great combination," said Guerrero. "Ben is at the top of his profession and is deserving of this commitment by the University. He has returned UCLA to the nation’s elite, as illustrated by three straight Finals Fours and three consecutive 30-win seasons. He is an outstanding recruiter, and the foundation Ben has built for our program promises to keep us at the forefront for the foreseeable future."
Talk about well deserved. And it's good to see UCLA doing the right thing after what's been one of the best coaching runs in memory. As Jeff Eisenberg at the PE points out, it's a nice raise for Howland:
The deal is a significant bump over the extension he signed last summer. Howland made $1.5 million for the 2007-08 season and would have made $2 million by the end of the contract in 2013-14.
Of course, I can't say that our pleas to hold onto Howland led to this development, which has likely been in the works for a little while. But, I'm never one to doubt the collective weight of our words either.
It's also great to hear that, despite the slow pace of the Pauley renovation project, Howland's heart still seems to be in the right place:
"I have said this before, but there is no place I would rather be coaching than UCLA," said Howland, 51. "I grew up a Bruin basketball fan and this is my dream job. We have great young men in our program, both on and off the field, and they are the real reasons for our success. UCLA is a special name in college basketball thanks to Coach Wooden and I am proud to be the caretaker of his program. I am also grateful to Chancellor (Gene) Block and Dan for the faith they continue to show in me."
Gotta love it. Let me just say again. Thank God for Ben Howland.