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WSU hires Ray Lopes as assistant basketball coach


Washington State announced that Ray Lopes will be its newest assistant men's basketball coach. Read on for more.

Washington State didn’t have to search far to find its newest assistant men’s basketball coach.

The school announced Tuesday that Ray Lopes, an assistant at Idaho the past four seasons, has been hired as an assistant on coach Ken Bone’s staff at WSU.

The position became available when Bone decided to move former assistant Jeff Hironaka to a different role as director of player development/special assistant to the head coach.

Bone said he decided to change Hironaka’s position and hire a new assistant because he wanted to extend the coaching staff’s recruiting reach.

“Ray adds a dimension to our staff that will help us meet the goals we’re looking to fulfill within the basketball program here at WSU,” Bone said in a statement released by the school. “He is an experienced coach who has been at several Division I universities that have had success with his recruiting and coaching abilities. He has won at Washington State before and has been to several NCAA Tournaments, including a trip to the Final Four while at Oklahoma in 2002. He is a great recruiter with ties all over the country and has had success recruiting to the Palouse.”

Lopes has certainly been around. He coached at WSU during the 1993-94 season under coach Kelvin Sampson, then followed Sampson to Oklahoma where he served as an assistant for eight seasons.

Lopes left for the head coaching job at Fresno State following Oklahoma’s appearance in the 2002 Final Four, and promptly led the Bulldogs to the Western Athletic Conference championship in 2003.

But after three seasons at Fresno, Lopes resigned amid an NCAA investigation into his recruiting practices. He was slapped with a 3-year show-cause penalty – an order stating that he must appear before an infractions committee before seeking employment at another school – by the NCAA after it was discovered his staff made 457 impermissible phone calls between April 2002 and October 2004. Fresno State was given four years of probation.

Lopes moved on to a scouting job with the San Antonio Spurs, then took an associate head coaching job with the Idaho Stampede of the NBA's Developmental League. He was hired by Idaho in 2008-09.

Christian Caple can be reached at Twitter: @ChristianCaple

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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Sean Kramer Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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