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Summer 2003
Hoop Dreams
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His first coaching job was as an assistant at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., where he was unexpectedly pressed into service as a backup guard in practice against John Stockton. “We had no idea at that time how good he was going to be,” says Howland of the future Utah Jazz star and NBA all-time leader in assists and steals. While coaching, Howland earned his master’s degree in administration and physical education at Gonzaga.

In 1982, Howland moved to UC Santa Barbara, where he served as an assistant coach for 12 years until he was hired, in 1994, as head coach at Northern Arizona University, taking over a program that was ranked 280th out of 290 Division I schools.

After a couple of rough years, Howland built the program into a 21-game winner for each of the next three seasons, and in 1998 the Lumberjacks went to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history, after capturing the Big Sky Tournament championship.

The next year, Howland was made head coach at the University of Pittsburgh. His Panthers reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2002 and 2003 and won the 2003 Big East Tournament championship. Howland was named National Coach of the Year in 2002, and Pittsburgh finished the 2003 season with a sizzling 28-5 record and a No. 4 ranking on the final AP poll.

Now at UCLA, Howland says he feels like he has come home. He hired Donny Daniels, former head coach at Cal State Fullerton, and Kerry Keating, former assistant coach at the University of Tennessee, to be part of his staff and has brought assistant coach Ernie Zeigler with him from Pittsburgh. Director of Operations Chris Carlson, who worked with Howland at UCSB, Northern Arizona and Pitt, has also joined Howland at UCLA.

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