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Ben Howland makes his return to Pittsburgh

Big East Basketball Tournament - Syracuse v Pittsburgh

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 14: Head coach Jamie Dixon of the Pittsburgh Panthers reacts as he coaches against the Syracuse Orange during the quaterfinals of the Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 14, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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Before his decade-long tenure at UCLA, one that saw him recruit and coach NBA stars like Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook and Jrue Holiday while making three straight Final Fours, ended last March with a Pac-12 title and a Round of 64 exit in the NCAA tournament, Ben Howland cut his teeth as the head coach at Pittsburgh.

Howland was at Pitt for four years. He was at Northern Arizona for five years before that. In fact, since he was hired by Gonzaga as a lowly assistant in 1981, this is the first time that Howland hasn’t been employed as a coach heading into a basketball season.

Since he has some free time, Howland made the decision to pay a visit to Jamie Dixon, who was his assistant for eight years before heading to UCLA.

“That was the first time that it really hit me,” Howland told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I’ve never had time off at this time of year. [This visit] is special for me with Jamie, obviously, because of our close relationship.”

The time off may be giving the Howland the itch, as he’s made it clear that he’s still looking to get back into the coaching game at some point.

“I’m hoping someone will hire me,” he said. “Whoever that is, I have no idea.”

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