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Hayford denies hiring of Ehlo

Jim Hayford, Eastern Washington’s new men’s basketball coach, refused on Friday to confirm a McClatchy News report that said former Washington State and NBA standout Craig Ehlo has accepted an offer to become one of his assistants.

“I will confirm that Craig is one of over 120 people that have completed on-line applications, and that I have discussed the issue with him,” said Hayford, who was officially introduced as the Eagles’ coach earlier this week. “I have a close 10-year relationship with Craig, but no job offers have been made.”

Ehlo, a local resident who played 14 seasons in the NBA and later coached boys basketball at Rogers High School for three years, could not be reached for comment. Hayford, who was hired away from NCAA Division III power Whitworth University to replace Kirk Earlywine at Eastern, said he has not talked to Ehlo, who now does television color commentary for various basketball broadcasts, in more than a week.

Hayford added he was still in the process of interviewing potential staff members and would make no further comments at this time.

Steve Bergum