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WATCH: UCLA celebrates Mike Lewis taking Ball State head coaching job

Stephen Samraby:Steve Samra03/26/22

SamraSource

Prior to UCLA taking on North Carolina in the Sweet 16, the Bruins celebrated assistant coach Mike Lewis. The now-former UCLA assistant has been named the next head coach at Ball State.

During a practice prior to the game, UCLA coach Mick Cronin stopped his guys for a moment that Lewis will remember forever.

“Our guys are grateful & happy for @CoachMikeLewis, who has been named the next head coach at Ball State (@BallStateMBB),” tweeted UCLA. “Many thanks to Coach Lewis, who will return with his family to his home state of Indiana soon.”

While UCLA couldn’t defeat North Carolina to celebrate the news, Mike Lewis is bringing a wealth of knowledge to Ball State. The Cardinals haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2000, and Lewis will be entrusted to change that for the program.

Mick Cronin after UCLA loss to North Carolina: ‘True greatness is giving your best effort.’

Moreover, UCLA faithful suffered a heartbreaking loss to North Carolina after the jubilation of the announcement regarding Michael Lewis. After the dust settled, Mick Cronin spoke about why his team shouldn’t hang their heads.

“Yeah, they’re heartbroke,” Cronin stated. “But like I tell them, we all play at UCLA. We practice under the pyramid of success, and true greatness is giving your best effort. Give your best effort to get your degree, be a good person, be a good teammate. They’ve restored UCLA to the national scene. They can’t — my message to them is you can’t let people say, ‘Well, hey, you did not win it all this year or your season is not a success.’ That’s a ludicrous statement. Although I came to UCLA to try to get this 12th title and I’m not going to leave until I do.

“But for them — I’m a teacher. So, for them their lesson has got to be did they give their best effort. And the answer is yes. These guys did a great job of making UCLA basketball relevant again.

“I’m very proud of them. Just try to hammer home to them that you can’t let this loss define your career because we all know, especially those of us from LA in here, what they’ve done to turn our program around.”

Last season, UCLA made a fantastic run to the Elite Eight from the First Four. While they came just short of mimicking their success from last season, the Bruins have returned to the forefront of college basketball over the last two seasons. The foundation is being laid, and that’s something to be proud of.