Mar 12, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Ken Bone (left) instructs forward D.J. Shelton (23) against the Stanford Cardinal during the second half in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference Tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Cardinal defeated the Cougars 74-63. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Washington State athletic director Bill Moos has informed the public of his decision to finally take Cougar basketball in a different direction, firing Ken Bone Tuesday morning. He will be holding a press conference in a few minutes for more on his position, but he has said this already:
"I appreciate what Ken has done for Cougar Basketball, leading us to the postseason twice in the last four years, and I thanked him for his service to WSU. At this point we need to revitalize our fan base, particularly our student body, and position this program to compete for championships."
We knew this was coming, but it’s never official until it’s official when $1.7 in unpaid, guaranteed salary is on the line. Still, to perhaps do everything that Moos wants to do with basketball, a change was imminent.
Nobody has ever mistaken Moos for a basketball junkie, certainly not as much as a fanatic as he is for football, but he’s knows a competitive basketball program is necessary to be a top tier Pac-12 school. Of course at Oregon he was instrumental in helping to revitalize the basketball program, though Phil Knight was pretty much the most major catalyst.
Speaking of Oregon, Ernie Kent’s name has come up in the coaching search but at this point it certainly doesn’t look like he’s in the running. Moos has been quoted as saying his “short list” of coaching candidates only had head coaches on it, then there was this today from the official press release via WSUCougars.com:
"“We will begin the process of naming the next head coach immediately,” said Moos. “I will not be discussing details of the hiring process, only that I expect to name the new coach as soon as possible.”"
In reading between the lines, if it is indeed a head coach from another program, wanting to revitalize the program would require bringing in a guy that everyone is excited about. Therefore, his team is probably in the NCAA Tournament this weekend. After Florida Gulf Coast’s run deep into last season’s tournament, there’s no guarantee this coach (whoever he is) would be done as of Sunday.
As far as weeding out some possible candidate names, I’ll have more on that tomorrow morning. For now, let’s just wish Ken Bone and his family well (wish I could be fired and still be in line for almost $2 mil the next couple years) and appreciate the process of trying to bring Cougar basketball back to prominence in the Pac-12.