Keeping Score

Mississippi State makes hiring of Howland official

Mississippi State has hired former UCLA coach Ben Howland to lead its basketball program.

The university announced Howland’s hiring on Monday night. He’ll be introduced in a news conference on the Starkville campus Tuesday.

The 57-year-old Howland coached at UCLA for 10 years, leading the program to three straight Final Fours from 2006 to 2008. But the Bruins never made it past the second round of the NCAA Tournament during the next five seasons and he was fired in 2013 despite winning the Pac-12.

ESPN first reported Mississippi State had hired Howland.

Howland takes over for Rick Ray, who was fired on Saturday after three losing seasons. Ray had a 37-60 overall record, including a 15-44 mark against Southeastern Conference competition.

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reported that Howland is likely to add former UCLA assistant Korey McCray to his staff. McCray worked on the LSU staff for one year in the 2013-14 season and served as the program’s main recruiter of Malik Newman, a senior guard at Jackson-Callaway considered one of the nation’s top prospects.

Newman has yet to make a decision on where he plans to attend school, but LSU, Kentucky, Kansas, MSU and Ole Miss are considered among his favorites.

Howland was 233-107 in 10 seasons at UCLA, leading the Bruins to a regular season title in his final campaign in 2012-13.

Howland also served as head coach at Pittsburgh (1999-03) and Northern Arizona (79-59). He led Pittsburgh the Sweet Sixteen twice in four years there.

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