From Spokane -- Former Washington State athletic director Jim Sterk is now performing the same job at San Diego State but his duties have brought him back to the Inland Northwest this weekend for the NCAA tournament. He watched his Aztecs cruise to the Sweet 16 by winning a pair of games over New Mexico State and North Dakota State at the Spokane Arena.
One of Sterk's last acts at WSU was hiring new basketball coach Ken Bone, who was dismissed last week by current athletic director Bill Moos. Sterk signed Bone to a seven-year, fully guaranteed contract meaning he'll still be $1.7 million for the contract's final two years. I asked Sterk about that today.
Our unedited story after the jump.
Ken Bone may have been dismissed as the men’s basketball coach at Washington State last week, but the school still owes Bone the $1.7 million remaining on the final two years of his contract.
That is because former WSU athletic director Jim Sterk signed Bone to an atypically long, seven-year contract in April, 2009. Furthermore, the contract was fully guaranteed, meaning that in the event the coach was fired he would continue to be paid as if he hadn’t.
On Saturday Sterk said that the reason for the contract’s length was that women’s basketball coach June Daugherty had also been given seven years.
“I think June Daugherty had received a seven-year deal and so I think (president Elson Floyd) agreed that was fair to have when we hired Ken on the men’s side.”
Typically contracts for coaches include a buyout clause that pays them a fraction of their salary if they are fired, or requires them to pay back the school a certain figure if they leave voluntarily.
Sterk added that because Bone had previously taken Portland State to consecutive NCAA tournament appearances he was “somebody that was marketable at the time.”
Bone led the Cougars to the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament in his second season at WSU. But he finished with just an 80-86 record, including 29-61 in Pac-12 play.
“I think he’s a really good coach,” Sterk said. “I think he just didn’t get enough kids to come and be a part of the vision, and then I think he had some injuries as well. It was a combination of thing but it’s just too bad it didn’t work out.”