Published May 02, 2016
Starkville, MS (SportsNetwork.com) - Ben Howland has been named the new men's basketball coach at Mississippi State, the university announced Monday night.
The school acted quickly after Ricky Ray was fired on Saturday after just three seasons. Mississippi State finished 37-60 during Ray's brief tenure, including 13-19 this past season.
Howland has been out of coaching since March 2013 when he was fired by UCLA after 10 seasons with the Bruins. He guided UCLA to a record of 233-107 with seven NCAA Tournament berths, including three consecutive Final Four appearances from 2006-08.
Despite the success, Howland was fired after a 25-10 season in 2012-13. The Bruins won the Pac-12 regular-season title that year, but fell to Oregon in the conference tournament championship game and lost to Minnesota in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Howland, 57, began his head coaching career at Northern Arizona in 1994, then left for Pittsburgh in 1999 and spent four seasons with the Panthers before heading to UCLA in 2003.
He has a career record of 399-208 with 10 NCAA Tournament appearances in 19 seasons.
"We have a coach who is a proven winner that's taken three schools to the NCAA Tournament," Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a statement. "Ben is someone who is ready to invest in the people of Mississippi and Bulldogs everywhere, while bringing championship basketball back to the Hump.
"Mississippi State basketball can compete at the highest level, just as several of our other teams have done in recent years, and I'm excited to have coach Howland lead us back to that level."
Mississippi State hasn't reached the tournament since 2009. The school said Howland would be formally introduced at a news conference on Tuesday.