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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.
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.
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.
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
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.