Fire away with questions for this week’s Q&A. Please don’t post new questions on the answers section, because I don’t always check the comments. Save them for next week.
On Phil Mathews’ age:
“Phil coached Tyler Lamb’s dad and uncle at Ventura JC. Had Terry Lamb in office Saturday and he laughed and had great respect for him. He’s coached the dad, and now he’s going to coach his son.”
On Donnie Daniels leaving:
“Donnie made this choice – he was not asked to leave. He got a great deal financially, he’s still paying for a daughter in college over in England. Donnie did just an unbelievable job when he was here, was a big part of why we had the success we had. He did a great job. I love Donnie, and I’ll always appreciate everything he gave to our program.”
How long has this been in the works?
BH: “We started talking about this – it’s been a few weeks. I can’t tell you exactly what the date was. He was the first guy that came to my mind right away. He was my No. 1 choice from the get go.”
Why did it take so long?
BH: “We were in no hurry. He still had some responsibilities in Nebraska. I’m friends with Doc Sadler at Nebraska and they had to finish things they had going there. I didn’t want to hurt my relationship with Doc. Phil meant the world to them and their program, and I handle it the right way with people I respect. That’s probably why it went a little longer than usual.”
The hiring process may have dragged on, but Phil Mathews knew immediately he would jump at the chance to replace Donnie Daniels as a UCLA assistant men’s basketball coach.
“I’m a SoCal kid – born and raised, grew up in SoCal – to get the opportunity to come back and coach at a place like UCLA was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Mathews said during a conference call with UCLA head coach Ben Howland on Monday, after he was officially named an assistant coach after four years at Nebraska. “When Ben offered me the position, it was something I couldn’t pass up.”
Howland lauded Mathews recruiting ties in Southern California, as Mathews was a fixture in the basketball scene in the area for nearly three decades.
Before his stint with the Cornhuskers, Mathews spent 25 years coaching in California, all but nine in the southland. After playing for UC Irvine from 1970-72, Mathews spent several years as an assistant for the Anteaters and Cal State Fullerton, before eventually becoming head coach at Ventura College from 1985-95. After a 10-year run at the University of San Francisco, Mathews returned to the JC ranks to head San Bernadino Valley.
“I’ve known Phil for 28 years,” Howland said. “I was an assistant coach at Santa Barbara when he was at Fullerton way back in the day, 28 years ago. I’ve always had great respect for him as a coach, and as a recruiter. Important to me too are the ties he has to the SoCal community. He’s had a great experience, even being out now in the Big-12 and Nebraska. He’s a good coach, a very good recruiter, a good person who will represent the university in a first-class fashion.”
Why did you decide to come to UCLA?
“Growing up in Southern California, you grow up as a Bruin fan. Knowing that L.A. is a great place to play and coach at, you always want to do that as a young player and young coach. To get the opportunity to come back to SoCal with the great job and great position, this is great.”
How can you help with recruiting?
“Being a SoCal guy, coaching JC, high school, D-1, I’ve established a lot of contacts with the AAU, the high school coaches that go back a long time. Ben doesn’t need help coaching. He needs a guy who can come here and help him get back to the final four.”