The last basketball coach to win a national championship at UCLA doesn’t want to hold that designation forever.
Jim Harrick readily divulges that he holds a deep, emotional bond to the school long after a messy departure in 1996 that came only one year after he helped the Bruins raise their most recent banner inside Pauley Pavilion.
“I don’t know that anybody understands,” Harrick said in a recent telephone interview, “but you have a feeling, a tie there that’s undeniable. I want them to do well, I want them to get back to prominence and I’m very, very passionate about it.”
That’s why Harrick also wants the Bruins to make the right pick in their coaching search. But finding the next coach capable of making a national championship run after a nearly quarter-century drought won’t be as easy as making a list and vetting it twice.
“There’s a lot of good coaches in America; there’s only a handful of what I see as a fit at UCLA,” Harrick said. “I’m looking for the right fit for UCLA. It’s the understanding of Southern California and has a great resume” that are the top qualifications.
Harrick, who made it clear he was not lobbying for any individual candidate but speaking generally about the job, said that resume should include more than a few lines of experience.