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Ex-Pitt coach Howland attends Blue-Gold scrimmage, wants back in business

| Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

Former Pitt coach Ben Howland, who led UCLA to three consecutive Final Fours, said Friday night he anticipates a return to the sideline after this season.

UCLA fired Howland earlier this year after 10 seasons. He guided the Bruins to a 25-9 record and an NCAA Tournament berth in 2012-13. UCLA advanced to the NCAA Tournament seven times in Howland's tenure.

“This is the first time I realized how much I missed not coaching,” Howland said. “I'm hoping to be in a (new) job in the springtime. Wherever that is, I have no idea.”

Howland attended Pitt's Blue-Gold scrimmage at Petersen Events Center as a guest of coach Jamie Dixon. Howland and Dixon coached nine years together at Pitt and Northern Arizona.

“Thirty-two straight years without a break,” said Howland, who has a career record of 398-205. “I've never had off this time of year. I'm trying to take advantage of it and learn and get better, try to pick things up.”

Howland also attended Pitt practices this week. He and Dixon sat together at the scorer's table during the scrimmage. Howland was 89-40 at Pitt with two NCAA Tournament appearances from 1999-2003. Dixon replaced him when he left for UCLA.

“Jamie and I go back to when he was a high school kid. I would have never gotten where I was without him,” Howland said. “He is the biggest reason I had the success that I had.”

Howland said he also would consider working in television as a basketball analyst.

“I'm trying to watch as many practices as I can,” he said. “I don't know how many I'll do. If I don't get a (coaching) job in the spring, I may have to do (TV).”

John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jharris@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JHarris_Trib.

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