Stevens turns down UCLA to stay at Butler
by David Woods, USA TODAY Sports
Brad Stevens has turned down the UCLA basketball job and will remain the coach at Butler, according to several sources familiar with the situation.
Stevens would not comment on the situation Friday. “I have not commented on any other school to anyone,” Stevens said in a text message.
Stevens was in his office Friday and posed for photos with fans visiting Hinkle Fieldhouse. One asked what was on the minds of all Butler fans: “Are you staying?”
The UCLA opening became the biggest on the market when the school fired Ben Howland on Monday. Stevens was an immediate candidate for the opening, though he refused to comment.
Stevens replied only that he was spending Easter weekend in Indianapolis with his family.
Earlier Friday, he posted a message on Twitter that seemed to indicate he was remaining at Butler.
Another signal that Stevens is staying?
There was this tweet Wednesday from committed recruit Elijah Brown: “Just got off the phone wit coach! Official visit set up for Monday at Butler.”
Brown, son of former NBA coach Mike Brown, played for the Mater Dei High School team that won a California state championship.
Another incoming freshman, Nolan Berry of DeSmet Jesuit in St. Louis, stopped by Hinkle Fieldhouse today and met with Stevens in the coach’s office. Berry’s father, Mark, who accompanied his son on the campus visit, said Stevens didn’t address the coaching rumors.
Butler athletic director Barry Collier has declined to comment to Stevens’ status or whether the coach is having his contract re-negotiated. In 2010, after the Bulldogs’ run to the NCAA championship game, Stevens was awarded a contract extension through 2021-22.
When approached at his Hinkle Fieldhouse office on Thursday, Stevens smiled and mouthed the words “no comment.” He said there was no benefit to talking about his “personal life.” He spent at least part of Thursday interviewing outgoing seniors.
ESPN.com reported Thursday night Stevens is UCLA’s “top target,” citing unnamed sources. The website also reported that Stevens and UCLA were in contract negotiations. That part of the story was … [For more on Brad Stevens turns down UCLA to stay Butler coach, click here.]