I think the recruit part you mentioned was one of the main reasons they went for him. He's proven he can recruit the west coast guys and is kind of a "players coach" who will manage the egos. Something Howland didn't do well once he started going for the big name recruits.
That is why you don't even see him mentioned for jobs anymore legitimately.
His name has come up with the Oregon job a year or two ago and if you can believe what you read he was on a short list for the Bruins.
There is a pretty large contingent in this part of the world who thinks Few is merely a big fish in a little pond. He never has been a big game coach or motivator for that fact. My son, who is an alum, has spent most of the last 7 days killing me with Mark Few hate.