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Would Wooden cut it at UCLA today?

UCLA basketball might be a destination place to coach, but who still wants to coach there?

Oh, I'm sure there are plenty of candidates that will step up and interview for the job. But there's no chance the next coach will retire and be celebrated in Westwood.

Ben Howland was canned Sunday as coach of the Bruins.

He won a Pac-12 championship this season and posted a 25-win season.

That wasn't good enough. The Bruins lost in the first round, something that was rumored would get him fired.

Turned out to be true.

He compiled a 233-107 record, pretty darned good. He also went to three straight Final Fours, something most fans would consider a dream.

Howland's teams struggled the past couple years, and that was enough to do him in.

He's a good coach. No, strike that, an excellent coach.

He resurrected the Pitt basketball program. He took UCLA to some pretty good heights.

But he wasn't John Wooden.

The ironic thing is, if John Wooden were alive, he wouldn't last long as the Bruins' coach.

The game has changed. There's more parity than ever.

Wooden wouldn't cut it today with the same expectations.


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The kids are getting bigger and faster, so the concussions, the severe spinal cord injuries, are only going to get worse. It’s a tough pill to swallow because I love the game of football. But I tell parents, you can have the right helmet, the perfect pads on, and still end up with a paraplegic kid. There’s no correcting it. There’s no helmet that’s going to correct it. There’s no teaching that’s going to correct it. It just comes down to it’s a physically violent game. Football players are in a car wreck every week.
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