WSU Basketball: The next Cougar head man will be…


Jan 26, 2014; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars mascot Butch preforms against the Oregon Ducks during the first half at Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

In just a few short hours, the speculative possibilities for just who will be tapped by Washington State athletic director Bill Moos will be drowned out by Cougar football stepping up front and center.

Moos has proven himself to be a master of controlling the media covering the athletic programs of Montana, Oregon and WSU. Say what you will about this Cougar legend, Bill Moos is extremely adept when it comes presenting the best side of his school’s sports program.

That said, why hasn’t Moos pulled the trigger and brought in a new man to replace recently dispatched Ken Bone?

One school of thought on why there hasn’t been an announcement and public coronation would be the next Cougar coach is still leading a team in post season play. Or to expand on that theory, the number one choice hasn’t had adequate time to consider leaving their present job and calling Bekins to arrange a move to Pullman.

How long does it take to agree to a coaching contract which certainly will at least double annual earnings? For most of us, not too long. And if we pursue some of the prime candidates in this category, one name bubbles up to the top of the list.

Mar 22, 2014; Spokane, WA, USA; North Dakota State Bison head coach Saul Phillips reacts while addressing the media in a press conference after a men

Saul Phillips, currently the head coach of the North Dakota State Bison who advanced to the NCAA Round of 32 with an unexpected victory over Oklahoma. Phillips certainly is a qualifier based on coaching ability. He coached up his roster to earn a nice win in the tournament opening round. Unfortunately his squad was soundly thumped by an outstanding defensive San Diego State team. Given Phillips’ coaching experience competing in a top tier conference can be summed up in one word, “zero”, this writer finds it unlikely that this in the prime target on Moos’ short list of candidates.

Damon Stoudamire is still burning the midnight oil as part of Sean Miller’s staff at Arizona. Stoudamire should be on Moos’ short list based on his ability to recruit. He doesn’t have head coaching experience though and that is said to be one of the “must have” qualifications.

Marvin Menzies led New Mexico State to the NCAA tourney for the fourth time in the past five seasons. He has been available for negotiations because his Aggies were sent back to Las Cruces following a opening round loss to San Diego State. Given the fact NMSU plays in the WAC and has never advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, is Menzies really the guy who will lead WSU to Pac-12 hoops credibility? Also, it’s an interesting note both NMSU and NDSU were eliminated by Mountain West member San Diego State.

Kelvin Sampson, former WSU head man, is an intriguing possibility. Sampson has languished as an NBA assistant with the Houston Rockets for the past three seasons. Sampson has a storyline similar to WSU head football coach Mike Leach when it comes to redemption. Banished from the college ranks for different reasons, both Leach and Sampson are coaches with tarnished pasts that can easily be polished by simply doing what they do best, coach. No better place to toil at their craft than on the Palouse. However, Sampson might not desire returning to the rank of head coach at WSU when he can stay in his same Houston home and take over the vacant college spot at UH. Another interesting note in pondering either of these options for Sampson is both schools have a Cougar for their mascot. If this was the top choice for Moos, the deal would already be done.

So who is the guy I believe will be the next Washington State men’s basketball coach? (NOTE: let it be known this writer has no substantive inside information to form an opinion)

Feb 27, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Ernie Kent (right) interviews Southern California Trojans guard Jio Fontan (1) after the game against the Arizona Wildcats at the Galen Center.USC defeated Arizona 89-78. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ernie Kent has more qualities that would be placed in the “pros” evalutation column than any other candidate being mentioned as a prime possibility. Kent is an top notch recruiter with over a decade of Pac-12 coaching experience. He is an athletic director’s dream when it comes to dealing with media. Heck, the dapper Kent is a current analyst for the Pac-12 Networks. Yes, there is also the well documented history of Kent and Moos working together at Oregon. When the element of redemption for Kent is added into the mix, well, he would clearly be a great hire by WSU. That said, it doesn’t seem likely my prime candidate is No. 1 on the short list of Bill Moos.  If that were the case, the deal would be done days ago in advance of the opening of spring football.

All indication points to Moos being content with holding off until next week, then surprising both experts and the rest of us.