UCLA rewards Howland with seven-year contract

Updated: July 21, 2006, 10:09 PM ET
SportsTicker

LOS ANGELES -- Ben Howland has been rewarded for his quick rebuilding job.

Howland agreed to a seven-year contract with UCLA on Friday that will keep the men's basketball coach in Westwood through the 2012-13 season.

The 49-year-old Howland will make a guaranteed $1.15 million for the upcoming season and have that figure bumped to $1.6 million by the completion of the deal.

In his third season with the Bruins, Howland guided the team to a 32-7 record and its first appearance in the NCAA championship in 11 years before losing to Florida.

"Ben is one of the top coaches in all of college basketball," UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said. "In a short time, he has returned UCLA to elite status and we expect to remain there for the foreseeable future.

"Reaching the championship game in just his third year was an outstanding achievement, and he is building a program that will be strong for years to come."

Winning their final 12 games to advance to the title game for a record 13th time, the Bruins claimed their first Pac-10 Conference title since 1997 and first league tournament crown in 19 years.

"I grew up a Bruin basketball fan," Howland said. "I am honored to be the coach at this fine institution, and I am thankful to Dan for the faith he has shown in me. Reaching the title game last year was tremendous, but our goal is to contend for the NCAA title on a regular basis."

That goal may prove difficult as UCLA lost three starters from last season's team, including point guard Jordan Farmar, who opted for the NBA. The Bruins also took another hit Wednesday as leading scorer Arron Afflalo was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot that will sideline him for six to eight weeks.

In other contract news, UCLA and head football coach Karl Dorrell have agreed on a new five-year contract.

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