Ernie Kent, who spent 13 seasons at Oregon but has been out of coaching for the last four seasons, was named head coach at Washington State, the school announced Monday.
Kent made five NCAA Tournaments, including two Elite Eight runs in 2002 and 2007. The 59-year-old parted ways with the Ducks following a 16-16 season in 2009-10.
Kent, who will be introduced during a press conference Wednesday, signed a five-year rollover contract, the school announced.
“I am excited that Ernie will be the leader of our men’s basketball program,” Washington State director of athletics Bill Moos Moos said in a statement. “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.”
With 19 years of head coaching experience, Kent spent 13 years as the head coach at his alma mater, Oregon, beginning with the 1997-98 season until the 2009-10 season. He has spent the last two seasons as a college basketball analyst for Pac-12 Networks after four years as an analyst for Fox Sports Net.
“I’m looking forward to providing the kind of passion and leadership to help potential student-athletes understand how special WSU is,” Kent said in a statement. “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. Bill Moos has a vision and has created enormous energy around Cougar Athletics and I want to be a part of that. Now is the time.
“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.”
Kent has a 325-254 (.561) mark as a head coach, having spent six seasons at Saint Mary’s in Moraga, Calif., and 13 at Oregon, where he compiled a 235-174 (.575) record and a 109-125 (.466) conference mark.
Washington State fired Ken Bone earlier this month after a 3-15 Pac-12 mark and a 10-21 overall record. Bone, 55, spent five years in Pullman but was unable to reach an NCAA Tournament in his tenure.
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