Braun takes over Rice team coming off 3-27 year

HOUSTON -- Former California coach Ben Braun took over Monday at Rice, promising to turn around a team that won only three games this season.

Braun, who had a 219-154 record in 12 seasons at Cal, was hired to replace Willis Wilson, who was fired in March after the Owls went 3-27 overall and 0-16 in Conference USA.

"I tend to dwell on the potential, and I think the potential at Rice is infinite," Braun said. "Everywhere you go, there are challenges. To me, it's about the challenges."

Braun said one of the goals of the staff he plans to hire will be to do a good job recruiting Texas players. He hopes to have his staff in place next week.

"I'm familiar with Texas and believe that there are so many good players from the state that we should be able to get some of those kids to come to Rice," he said.

Braun was fired by Cal last month after the Golden Bears missed the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five years. Braun led Cal to five NCAA tournament berths and three NIT appearances. The team won the NIT title in 1999.

He has 552 career victories. He also has coached at Eastern Michigan and Siena Heights.