Stevens, a top target, gives ‘no comment’ on UCLA

While reports indicate that UCLA is strongly pursuing Butler coach Brad Stevens, whether or not the 36-year-old is inclined to leave remains unclear.

First were the late Wednesday night television reports on KTLA and KCAL9 that Stevens was on the Westwood campus yesterday, but the OC Register reported that the coach was definitely in Indianapolis by Thursday morning.

A private jet with the tail number N700QA flew from LAX on Monday and stayed in Indianapolis for almost exactly 24 hours; rumors abound that the plane carried UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero or another administration member, but that is also unconfirmed.

When approached by the Indianapolis Star this morning at Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse, Stevens mouthed the words “no comment.” ESPN, which reported that Stevens is the Bruins’ top target, was also told by the coach that he would not comment on “any other speculation or situation.”

Regarded as one of the top young coaches in the country, Stevens led the Bulldogs to back-to-back national championship games in 2010 and 2011 and reportedly makes around $1 million a year. An Indiana native who played at DePauw University, Stevens’ roots have made him difficult to lure, even as his name gets mentioned for just about every prominent job opening in the country.

Butler’s impending move to the new Big East — a basketball-focused conference that will include schools such as Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette and Xavier — might also make a move less appealing for Stevens. A source told CBS Sports that they would be “shocked” if Stevens left.

UPDATE: ESPN initially reported that UCLA was in “contract negotiations” with Stevens before removing that part of the story.

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  • Bru-Crew_UCLA

    no doubt he seems to be a good coach, I just don’t know if he’s a right fit for the politics of a Big Time Program like UCLA.

    • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

      You’re just giving another excuse when the guy figures out its an awful job and tells ucla to “pound sand”. LOL

      • drakejr

        Which reminds me, has USC found a local jr high basketball coach that would be willing to walk away from a full pe schedule to coach that joke program?

        • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

          Agree. SC BB, which won the first game and the new Pauley, sux. Just like your football program. Looks like a lot of coaches are thinking the same about ucla BB.

      • Bru-Crew_UCLA

        Your breath stinks. Go gargle with worm tea.

        • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

          It’s your wife’s fault.

          • Marc

            Low blow joe blow.

            Geeze, and at six am no less….

          • Reformed Droog

            Maybe his wife is an underperforming dentist?

          • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

            Lower

          • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

            Just woke with her. Sorry.

  • Lifelong Bruin Fan

    While I would be pleased with a Stevens hire, and given his seemingly auspicious parallels* with Coach Wooden including both hailing from Indiana, I can’t help but feel this is like trying to court Peterson at Boise St. all over again.

    But I would be happy to be wrong. And I commend Guerrero for putting a full-court press on Stevens if that is indeed what is happening.

    BTW any coach that can take a mid-major to two straight NCAA finals and narrowly lose in one certainly deserves to be high on our list.

    *When Coach Wooden was hired by UCLA in 1948, the school he turned down to accept our position was the University of Minnesota. Interestingly enough, the University of Minnesota is also currently in search of a new basketball coach for next season. I wonder if this is a sign that lightning will strike twice for UCLA? Let’s hope so…

    • 92104bruinfan

      As far as young college coaches go, Stevens is at the top of the list and his credentials speak for themselves. However, he’s apparently never been to LA and both he and his wife have been in Indiana virtually their entire lives. So yes, this would be a huge culture shock for them. However, he’s been in enough high pressure environments over the last few years by virtue of his chosen profession. Further, Stevens would not be the first small town guy to come to LA to chase huge dreams and moreover, there may be a competitive fire in him to see what he can do in Westwood. If Stevens chooses to stay, can’t blame him since he’s done great where he is. Then presumably we would be next courting Marquette’s Buzz Williams…and…wait for it Marc below…Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall.

      • Marc

        LOL.

        Maybe I see the best coach no ones talking about and I’m doing my best to get his name talked about…

        • 92104bruinfan

          Bustin’ chops aside, I agree Marshall is a legit candidate no doubt and positive enthusiasm is a good thing on this board. Hope we get a legit coach sooner than later…and wouldn’t you know it, spring football kicks off next week! Go Bruins!

      • Lifelong Bruin Fan

        Yes I also heard that he has never visited LA before, and after I did I thought “hmmm, this is not likely.”

        I was hoping the Wooden/Indiana connection would lure him, and he must have at least considered it since apparently we actually met with him, but in the end I guess it was not meant to be.

        I’m disappointed but not surprised or discouraged. I think we will land a great coach yet, but perhaps not necessarily someone everyone was anticipating.

  • Mark

    Mentioning the tail number is some real crack reporting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that mentioned in a story before!

  • Marc

    I understand the guy is still coaching in the tourney and all, but UCLA would be making a huge mistake, IMO, if they don’t do a whole lot of research on Gregg Marshall and craft the best damn pitch anyone’s ever seen to get this guy to roam the sideline of Pauley Pavilion next year as head coach of the UCLA Bruins.

    I mean it. I even like his stylish glasses. Think of those in Bruin Blue. Find out what his wife likes, find out everything and make sure that coach Mora is involved in the pitch. Get him to talk about what a great experience it is for him to be coaching on the UCLA campus.

    • 92104bruinfan

      Dude your mancrush on Gregg Marshall is disturbing.

      • Marc

        LOL. Perhaps, but he is an amazing coach that no one is talking about.

        You watch, UCLA get Brad Stevens; I’m ok with that; would prefer Marshall.

        But watch Marshall end up at USC and go on a tear. I hope not, but…

        • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

          SC is trying to get the Asst. Coach for the Pasadena Boy’s Club champion.

      • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

        But understandable

  • Mark

    Jordan Adams was at Staples Ctr last night, sitting in the handicapped seats. I guess he can’t walk with the foot cast, so he has one of the one-legged scooter things.

  • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

    Brad Stevens to STAY at Butler! 10am Friday. Sinking ship.

  • FraudPatrol

    Marshall’s demeanor apparently makes hot head Howland look like a Girl Scout…no thanks.