Brad Stevens, considered UCLA's top target for their head coaching vacancy, will stay at Butler, according to an ESPN report Friday. Since Stevens led Butler to back-to-back national championship game appearances in 2010 and 2011, his name has appeared prominently the past two years in coaching searches by major programs. But the Indiana native has steadfastly refused to leave, saying he loves coaching in his home state, and apparently has done so again with UCLA. He told ESPN earlier that he wouldn't speculate on his status but said in a text message, "I'm the coach at Butler." On Friday morning, Stevens tweeted, "Love walking thru Hinkle (Fieldhouse])in the morning... Anxious to get started on our spring workouts next week." After Stevens emerged on the national radar two years ago for such jobs as Oregon and Clemson, he signed a contract extension at Butler through the 2021-22 season at approximately $1 million per season. He also turned down Illinois last year after Bruce Weber was let go. The UCLA job, which became vacant when the school fired Bent Howland after the Bruins' second-round NCAA Tournament exit, would pay considerably more than Butler. Howland was earning $2.3 million per year. Butler bowed out of the NCAA Tournament in the second round last weekend. The Bulldogs just completed their first year in the Atlantic 10 and plan to move to the new Big East. EsPN reported that despite UCLA's lack of success in luring Stevens or Virginia Commonwealth's Shaka Smart, the Bruins remain focused on hiring a college coach the fill their opening.
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