FROM PULLMAN — There were no ultimatums discussed. The coach wasn't made to plead for his job. Nor was he yelled at.
No, Washington State athletic director Bill Moos says his meeting with men's basketball coach Ken Bone on Wednesday was devoid of much drama, Moos deciding a while ago that he was likely to retain Bone for a fifth year as the Cougars' coach.
Moos said his decision about Bone's future was made before the two sat down to recap the season.
“I pretty much decided that I was going to retain him,” Moos said. “I did want to get a sense from him of where we were in regards to the program, the current players, incoming players that we had recruited and also his staff, so we had that discussion and at the end of it I told him I’m going to support him wholeheartedly.”
Bone said during his season wrap-up teleconference on Thursday that the Cougars need to be better next season, stating the obvious that “4-14 is unacceptable” in reference to WSU's record in Pac-12 play this season.
Moos wasn't quite as direct when we spoke yesterday. He didn't really need to be. Bone understands what needs to happen, Moos said. And much of it depends on the caliber of WSU's recruiting class, as well as players such as Que Johnson and Jordan Railey who redshirted this season but are already in the program.
“We’ve got to make strides. He made some adjustments to the staff last year and we’ll see really how that will affect our future and with these new players coming in,” Moos said. “I really feel that Ken Bone can coach. What remains to be seen, in some regards, is our ability to recruit and attract top players. You turn on the TV tonight and throughout the weekend, those programs have great players and great coaches. I want to observe and assess that as we go into next year and see what the quality of our personnel is.”
Moos said they didn't discuss attendance, either. Again, they didn't need to.
“He knows. He’s sitting on that bench and seeing the empty seats,” Moos said. “Of course, in the sports of football or men’s basketball, that's important. Basketball has got to pay for itself and hopefully make some money, and quite frankly we have not in recent years. We didn’t specifically talk about that.”
So, what did they talk about? Depth, for one.
“I’m excited about our new players coming in and also the current ones that I thought really played hard this year,” Moos said. “I think they showed a lot of character. We didn’t have the depth that we need and he and I talked about that, too — if you’re going to field a starting five, speculating the incoming players, what would it look like? What would the backups be? Are we going to be talented enough to go eight or nine deep with quality players that can compete at this level?”
As far as Bone's 7-year contract, of which three years remain, Moos hopes it isn't his last at WSU.
“He’s got a nice contract,” Moos said. “I hope that next year we’re sitting down and talking about a new one. Like I said I’m supporting him wholeheartedly and want to see him succeed.”
(Moos, by the way, said he planned to hold his end-of-season meeting with Bone much sooner than he did, but unfortunately, something far more important came up: as some here already know, Moos' mother, Parmalee, passed away a little more than two weeks ago at age 88, something I knew at the time but didn't feel comfortable writing. That was the personal matter to which Moos referred on his radio show last week. … Moos proudly notes that his mother was a 1947 graduate of WSU — known as the State College of Washington in those days — where she met Moos' father. They were married for 67 years.)