Not surprising to many, Washington State Athletic Director Bill Moos confirmed the hiring of Ernie Kent as the Cougar’s new Men’s Basketball Coach.
Kent last coached Oregon for 13 seasons, and has 325 career wins, with two NCAA Elite-8 showings leading the Ducks program under Moos at one time.
Wazu will introduce Kent Wednesday officially, and it’s reported he got a 5-year deal. Kent replaces Ken Bone who was fired after 5 seasons in Pullman.
Moos had this to say about Kent in a media release by WSU:
“I am excited that Ernie will be the leader of our men’s basketball program,” Moos said. “I have witnessed firsthand his many talents. He has proven that he can win championships in our conference. Together we saw tremendous success at his alma mater and I have every reason to expect to see the same at mine.”
Eugene Register Guard senior reporter and Duck beat reporter Steve Mims talked about the Kent hire, and his past leading him to Pullman.
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Kent is the winningest Coach in Oregon school history, and takes over a program that hasnt’ been to the NCAA Tourney since 2008. He offered this as his public statement:
“As a player I saw the energetic environment that George Raveling’s teams created, as an assistant I witnessed Kelvin Sampson’s squads and saw the magic here and as a head coach I saw the excitement created by Tony Bennett.
When WSU is having success, Beasley Coliseum is one of the best environments in the West. The students are so passionate, I saw 5,000 of them out there ready to go during warm-ups, one of the few places I’ve ever witnessed that.
When you’ve seen that arena full and the program was at its best and now you have the opportunity to lead that program and you understand the potential that exists, that is very special to me.”
Dennis Patchin of Spokane’s ESPN-700 (KXLX) radio gives us the reaction from Cougs fans in the Palouse:
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Before Kent’s hiring was released, Cal announced Mike Montgomery, 67, is retiring after 32 seasons. Montgomery led the Bears for the past 6 seasons, and won 3 Pac-10 Titles at Stanford.
He started his career at Montana, and also had a 2 year stint as Head Coach of the NBA Goldent State Warriors.