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Few a top candidate for open UCLA job

Posted: Friday March 28, 2003 3:14 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- Speculation is heating up that Gonzaga coach Mark Few might be hired away by a higher-profile program.

Much of the talk centers around UCLA, where coach Steve Lavin was fired after the first losing season in 55 years.

Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth has not heard from UCLA officials, but he's expecting he will.

"I'm certainly not going to be surprised if he calls," Roth said Thursday of UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero. "I mean, if I'm the athletic director at UCLA, why wouldn't Mark Few be on my list?

"And if other [quality] jobs open up, it's going to be the same with them, too."

Few did not return a telephone message from The Associated Press.

After the Bulldogs lost in double-overtime to Arizona last weekend, Few said he planned to do some fly-fishing.

Few has posted a 105-29 record in his four seasons as Gonzaga's head coach and taken the Bulldogs to the NCAA basketball tournament each year.

But as a small private school with a 4,000-seat arena, Gonzaga basketball cannot generate the revenue of major powers like UCLA.

Few's salary is private, but he is thought to make about $500,000 per year in base pay and incentives. It has been reported that UCLA could pay as much as $1.2 million for a high-profile coach.

Others thought to be in mix for the UCLA job are Pittsburgh's Ben Howland, Utah's Rick Majerus and Marquette's Tom Crean.

At last week's NCAA West Regional in Salt Lake City, Few refused to comment on the UCLA job.

But earlier this week he told the Los Angeles Times he thought UCLA could regain its status as one of the elite programs.

"It's flattering and humbling," he said of having his name mentioned in connection with the job. "UCLA is a high-quality educational institution. You aren't sacrificing values there. It has tradition. It has a chance to go after any recruit in the country and be on his short list."

Few told the newspaper he wanted to be at a place where he had a shot at making the Final Four and winning a national championship.

While not discounting his chances of doing that at Gonzaga, he said: "UCLA has everything in place to be at the highest level."

Roth said Gonzaga could not come close to matching UCLA in pay.

Roth said Few, despite having received more lucrative offers from high-profile schools in recent years, has never attempted to force Gonzaga into a bidding war for his services.

"He's never come to me and said so-and-so is offering me X amount of dollars and you need to match it," Roth said. "He's a real team player in that respect, and very understanding of the process."

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