It Has Been Years Since…
Though Howland brought success back to Westwood, he quickly lost it. All of this around the time Wooden’s health was slipping and eventually caused him to pass. Along with Howland, the ways of success for UCLA had gone and have not since been duplicated.
This is not a ghost story. This is not a tale of spirituality. It is not a narrative of the looming specter that is John Wooden, cursing the air that flows through Pauley Pavilion. That is not Wooden’s style. This is more of an odd coincidence that parallels the series of bad decisions made by the athletic department.
UCLA fans are often labeled as spoiled. This is a false assumption. Many Bruins fans, except the UCLA extremists, do not believe that UCLA needs to win a championship every year. For the most part, UCLA basketball fans just want their team to be competitive every year. It happens with other bluebloods, so why should it not happen with the program that set the standard for success among all college basketball programs?
- A National Championship: 23 (1995)
- A Final Four: 10 (2008)
- A Regular Season Pac-12 Championship: 5 (2013)
- A Pac-12 Tournament Championship: 4 (2014)
Despite winning the Pac-12 regular season and tournament championship in 2010, the first round exit was enough for the athletic department to cast Howland out, simply because he did not live up to the standards he created for himself and UCLA in the modern era. That goes double for the current regime, but we will get into that shortly.
There is a stigma about the UCLA head coaching job, namely that it is hard to live up to the expectations brought on by previous leadership on a historic level. How can a coach succeed or been seen as successful after Wooden’s impressions on the program? Howland shot that down as he proved something very important: UCLA fans do not require championships, they just want their team to be competitive and be in the running for chapmionships. Every. Single. Season.
If other teams can do it, why can’t UCLA?