Washington State hires Kent as new basketball coach

PULLMAN -- Ernie Kent is the new men's basketball coach at Washington State University. He'll officially be introduce at a press conference in Pullman on Wednesday.

Kent becomes the 18th men's basketball coach in WSU history, signing a five-year contract with the Cougars. He takes over for Ken Bone, who was fired on March 18th after five years at Washington State.

"I am excited that Ernie will be the leader of our men's basketball program," said Washington State athletic director Bill Moos. "I have witnessed firsthand his many talents. He has proven that he can win championships in our conference."

With 19 years of head coaching experience, Kent most recently spent 13 seasons as the head coach at Oregon. You might also recognize him from his time as a college basketball analyst for the Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports Net. Kent last coached collegiality four years ago.

"I'm looking forward to providing the kind of passion and leadership to help potential student-athletes understand how special WSU is," Kent said. "Getting back into coaching for me has meant finding the right program that matches up with my passion, my vision, my beliefs and my commitment; and I feel Washington State University fits all that criteria for me."

"As a player I saw the energetic environment that George Raveling's teams created, as an assistant I witnessed Kelvin Sampson's squads, 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."

Kent has a 325-254 mark as a head coach, spending six seasons at the helm of St. Mary's before his time at Oregon.

With the Ducks, Kent compiled a 235-174 record and a 109-125 conference mark. His 109 conference wins rank 17th most in Pac-12 history.. Kent led the Ducks to seven postseason appearances, including five NCAA tournament appearances, as well as a Pac-10 regular-season championship and two conference tournament titles.

As the head coach at St. Mary's, Kent put together a 90-80 record, including a 23-8 mark in 1996-97 and a berth in the NCAA tournament. The tournament bid, the first at the school since 1989, was the result of the Gaels' fourth conference title in school history.

"Ernie Kent comes to WSU with sterling credentials and the necessary skill set to take the basketball program to higher levels of achievement," former Washington State head coach George Raveling said. "He has been a part of the growth of the Pac-12 from eight teams to 10 teams and now to 12 teams, he has lived the history and growth of the conference."

Before his time as a head coach, Kent served as an assistant at Stanford, Colorado State and Oregon. He also coached a club team in Saudi Arabia and spent one season coaching a high school team in Eugene, Oregon. Kent has also served as head coach, assistant coach and committee member for USA Basketball, winning a pair of gold medals in 2001 and 2003.