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Mississippi State set to name Ben Howland next coach, per report

Howland replaces Rick Ray.

Ben Howland is back in college basketball. Two years after being fired from UCLA, Howland will be named the next head coach at Mississippi State, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman. Howland replaces Rick Ray, who lasted just three seasons on the job before being let go last week.

Howland won over 68 percent of his games and took UCLA to three straight Final Fours from 2006-08 as part of a 10-year stint coaching the Bruins. He was able to bring UCLA as much talent as any program in the country at his peak, recruiting future NBA players such as Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Arron Afflalo and Darren Collison during his time in Westwood.

The end of Howland's tenure was less ceremonious. In his last four seasons at UCLA, the Bruins won just one NCAA Tournament game and missed the tournament altogether twice. There were also reports that he failed to instill a culture of discipline.

It's been seven seasons since Mississippi State last made the NCAA Tournament. The team was 36-60 in Ray's three seasons as head coach.