April 6, 2009 in Sports

Cougars’ coach search nears end

Sterk interviews two more coach candidates
By The Spokesman-Review
 

PULLMAN – A week after Tony Bennett left for the University of Virginia, it looks like Washington State University is getting closer to naming a new men’s basketball coach.

After interviewing candidates, including Alabama-Birmingham’s Mike Davis, at the Final Four in Detroit, WSU athletic director Jim Sterk and two other athletic administrators interviewed two more candidates Sunday in Seattle.

The Seattle Times reported on its Web site the two were Portland State coach Ken Bone, mentioned last week by Sterk as someone he was interested in talking with, and Utah State coach Stew Morrill.

Bone and Sterk have a professional connection that dates to 1990, when Bone was basketball coach and Sterk associate athletic director at Seattle Pacific. In his three years at PSU, Bone, 50, has compiled a 77-49 record and has guided the Vikings to the NCAA tournament the past two years.

Morrill, a Gonzaga University graduate, has been the head coach at Montana, Colorado State and Utah State. At those three stops, the 56-year-old Morrill has combined for a 485-229 record and five NCAA tournament appearances.

At least one of the interviewed candidates reportedly said he expected a decision to be made Sunday night, but had not been contacted by WSU officials.

The name of another coach in contact with WSU, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Perry Clarke, surfaced Sunday in conversations with one of the candidates.

Clarke, who just finished his second year at Corpus Christi, was the head coach at Tulane University when Sterk worked in the athletic department there. Clarke was 185-145 in 11 years at Tulane before moving on to the University of Miami and the Big East in 2000, where he was 65-54 in four seasons. He was dismissed at Miami after a 14-16 season in 2003-04. Tulane and Miami combined for four NCAA and five NIT appearances in Clarke’s tenure.

Clarke returned to coaching two seasons ago at Corpus Christi and led the Islanders to an 18-15 record this season. The NCAA recently placed the Corpus Christi athletic department on probation for a series of rules violations, including impermissible phone calls by an assistant basketball coach.

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