Brad Stevens is UCLA's top target
In a text message to ESPN, Stevens reaffirmed his coaching status at Butler, but also said he would not comment on "any other speculation or situation."
"I'm the coach at Butler," he wrote.
Stevens offered another possible hint at his future Friday morning with a tweet that read: "Love walking thru Hinkle [Fieldhouse] in the morning... Anxious to get started on our spring workouts next week."
A school spokesperson referred questions about Stevens to a general statement issued by athletic director Dan Guerrero earlier this week that said UCLA would "not comment on the process, the candidates, or provide status updates."
Asked if Guerrero was on campus Thursday, the spokesperson said he did not know.
Butler athletic director Barry Collier had no further information.
"We value him and he's an extremely important coach and staff member," Collier said.
Numerous candidates have been mentioned for the UCLA job, including those with NBA experience, but a source close to the search said via text message that, "Dan is focused on a college coach."
Shaka Smart of Virginia Commonwealth was also among UCLA's targets, but he said Wednesday he was returning to VCU and the school announced it was extending his contract through 2023.
Stevens, who guided Butler to the national championship game in 2010 and again in 2011, has been the top target for just about any major job opening during the past three years, but always has been thought of as a tough fish to land. He was born and raised in Indiana, went to college at DePauw, never has held a college coaching job anywhere other than Butler and has professed a love for the lifestyle in his home state.
He was targeted by major conference schools such as Oregon, Wake Forest and Clemson in 2010, but signed an extension with Butler through the 2021-22 season. He reportedly makes around $1 million per season. Ben Howland, recently fired by UCLA, was making $2.3 million, but UCLA has had an influx of money, thanks to new television deals with the Pac-12 Network, ESPN and Fox.
Sources told ESPNLA.com that UCLA and Stevens may be in contract negotiations; however, another source dismissed the claim.
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Two former UCLA assistants and current head coaches -- NC State's Mark Gottfried and Washington's Lorenzo Romar -- were said by to be on the Bruins' list, according to sources. But NC State athletic director Debbie Yow said Gottfried has a $3.75 million buyout and said the coach told her he hasn't heard from UCLA. Romar also said via text he has had no contact with UCLA.
Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne contributed to this report.