Washington State is parting ways with head coach Ernie Kent after five seasons with the program. Kent, who had previous Pac-12 success as the head coach at Oregon from 1997-2010, went just 58-98 during his tenure at Wazzu.
In what was a historically poor year for the Pac-12 Conference, the Cougars were among the league’s worst teams all year. The 11th-place Cougars were bounced in the first round of the conference tournament on Wednesday, finishing the year 11-21 (4-14).
Despite the power conference status, the Washington State job is not exactly a dream landing spot for most head coaches looking to advance their career. But it is one of just a few major jobs open so far (more to come, for sure) and can afford to pay an up-and-coming mid-major coach or high-major assistant enough to take the chance.
The Cougars last NCAA Tournament appearance was in 2008 and they last won the Pac-12 in 1941, so the barometer for success is relatively low.
Some names that should certainly be on AD Patrick Chun’s radar include: WSU alum and current Boise State head coach Leon Rice, Seattle head coach Jim Hayford, who also coached at Eastern Washington and actually beat Wazzu this season, and Montana head coach Travis DeCuire, a Mercer Island (WA)-native with Pac-12 recruiting experience from his time at Cal.
h/t to Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports for photo