Feb. 16, 2013; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Ken Bone looks on during a game against the Oregon Ducks during the first half at the Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Washington State men’s basketball head man, Coach Ken Bone, officially announced . his replacement for long-time associate Jeff Hironaka today.
Technically, the departure of Hironaka isn’t news. He tweeted regarding his pending move as an assistant coach to Portland State earlier this week, which in turn has been posted by several sources.
Rod Jensen will take over duties as director of player development at WSU.
"“We are excited about the addition of Rod Jensen to our staff and want to wish Jeff Hironaka the best at Portland State,” Coach Bone said. “I’ve known Rod for many years and he is an outstanding basketball coach. I love the passion and energy he brings to the game.”"
The most recent coaching post held by Jensen was head coach at The College of Idaho. Last season Jensen led the Coyotes to their first winning season in four years, finishing with a mark of 15-14. The team also enjoyed their first home playoff win since 2007. In a year filled with reaching goals, the Coyotes notched their first-ever win over a No. 1 ranked opponent when they took down Eastern Oregon 83-82
If Jensen influences the play of the Cougs next season, it’s likely to be at the defensive end of the court. While at Boise State, Jensen toiled as an assistant for 19-years. Focusing on tough defensive play, he helped Coach Bobby Dye and the Broncos rank in the Top 15 in scoring defense four consecutive seasons, winning a pair of regular season Big Sky championships in 1988 and 1989 while earning conference tournament titles in 1988, 1993 and 1994. The Broncos played in three NITs as well as three NCAA tournament appearances while Jensen was a part of the BSU staff.
Building on success at Boise State, Jensen took over as head coach in 1995 where his teams compiled a record of 109-93 over the course of seven seasons. Two of those seasons the Broncos ranked in the NCAA Top 25 in scoring defense. BSU captured the Big West East Division Championship in 1999.
Coug fans may remember the hallmark of Bennett Ball in Pullman. Both Coach Dick Bennett and his son Tony emphasized defense during their tenure at WSU. You might stretch a connection between the Bennetts and Jensen by way of the University of Virginia. Jensen left BSU to assist Pete Gillen at Virginia. Most recall Tony Bennett bolted from Pullman to take over the head coaching job at Virginia.
In his three years on the staff of the Cavaliers the team made back-to-back appearances in the NIT primarily with defense. Virginia led the ACC in field goal percentage allowed in 2005.
Jensen went on to spend five years at UNC-Greensboro, the last four of which he served as associate head coach.
Keeping with the return of academic focus for Washington State student-athletes, it’s notable that while at UNC-Greensboro every player who used up all of their eligibility graduated.
Nice addition to men’s basketball.
Though it is tough to say good bye to a guy the caliber of Jeff Hironaka, the Cougs haven’t skipped a beat with the hire of Rod Jenson.