Three Final Fours but no banner in 10 years like Ben Howland? Not good enough at UCLA. Befitting the Hollywood aura, the ideal candidate is an A-list personality with an oversized ego, designer wardrobe and unassailable recruiting chops.
Translation: He's John Calipari, who's taken Massachusetts, Memphis and Kentucky to the Final Four, the latter to last season's national championship. But Calipari wouldn't bail on the bluegrass for LA's bright lights. Would he?
Bruins athletic director Dan Guerrero ought to inquire, and when told no, he then can scan his list, paper or mental, for the next best thing. VCU's Shaka Smart? Butler's Brad Stevens? Like Calipari, they may not be interested.
UCLA needs to think outside the 3-point line and not be afraid to hire someone who does not fit the overrated UCLA "mold." I would forget Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens and go after Andy Enfield of Florida Gulf Coast. You can just hear the alums screaming, "We can't hire a coach from Florida Gulf Coast!"
Really? In 1948 UCLA hired a relative unknown from Martinsville, Ind., who seemed to work out fine.
Forget about the "FGCU" on the shirts and watch how the Eagles play. They fly up and down the court but are also well coached. In fact, Enfield's effort against Georgetown was one of the best single-game coaching jobs in NCAA history.
There is no shortage of successful coaches at lower profile schools, but many of them are shunning the opportunities at what were once perceived to be elite jobs because they recognize the higher expectations. It sure seems as though VCU's Shaka Smart, Butler's Brad Stevens, Gonzaga's Mark Few and New Mexico's Steve Alford are staying put.
Florida Gulf Coast's Andy Enfield is one of the hottest coaches this March and certainly wouldn't be a bad choice.
UCLA could have a good shot at plucking away SEC coaches who have recruited relatively well and coached successful programs. Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy has done well, turning in a .639 career winning percentage.
Usually the best choice isn't the popular choice. While many Bruins fans yearn to hear the names Shaka Smart or Brad Stevens, UCLA probably will only strike out on those two young coveted coaches.
The perfect (or as close as you can get) choice for the Bruins coaching vacancy is Washington's Lorenzo Romar. Raised in Compton, he has strong ties to the area. As an assistant on the 1995 NCAA tournament champion team, he understands the program and its standards. He was considered for openings there in the past. While his lackluster performance recently at Washington does not ignite excitement, he will be able to do more with more at UCLA.