Glen Dean is staying.
Eastern Washington University’s standout point guard and leading scorer announced Thursday that he will remain at Eastern after looking into the possibility of transferring in the wake of coaching change that took place early last month.
“I’ve reached a decision to stay here,” said Dean, who averaged 13.3 points and a team-high 4.2 assists as a sophomore last winter when the Eagles finished 10-20 and advanced to the Big Sky Conference tournament for the first time in five years. “I’m going to go ahead and finish it out at Eastern Washington, remain an Eagle and try to help our team win the Big Sky championship.”
Dean, a 5-foot-10, 170-pounder from Seattle, had requested a release to talk to other schools about transferring shortly after it was announced in early March that the contract of head coach Kirk Earlywine would not be renewed. That request was originally denied by EWU athletic director Bill Chaves, who said he wanted to get a new coach on board and let the returning players meet with him before granting such a release.
According to Dean, he was granted that release recently after meeting with Jim Hayford, the man hired to replace Earlywine. But after having brief discussions with a couple of other schools he did not wish to name, Dean opted to remain at Eastern.
“I kind of knew what I wanted to do all along,” Dean said. “But after I got my release, I talked with my family and a couple of my closest friends and decided I’m comfortable at Eastern. I’ve got good friends around me here, who I feel can help me succeed not only on the court, but in the classroom, too.”
Hayford was understandably elated by Dean’s decision.
“He obviously is a big part of our team,” said Hayford, who was officially introduced as the Eagles’ new coach on March 29, “so I was really happy when he told me he wanted to be a part of what were doing here at Eastern. I’m really pleased that we’re 10 days into this now, and that all of the players have told me they are staying.”
Dean, who was the Big Sky’s freshman of the year following the 2009-10 season, missed the first seven games of his sophomore year with a stress fracture in his foot.
But he came back to start the last 23 games, averaging 32.9 minutes of playing time.
Prior to obtaining his release to talk to other schools, Dean said he was impressed with Hayford after their initial meeting. And his feelings about his new coach have not changed.
“He’s a standup guy,” Dean said of Hayford, who took over the Eagles program after 10 seasons at Division III Whitworth, where he won almost 80 percent of his games and led the Pirates to the quarterfinals of the national tournament this winter.
“Plus, he’s a winner, and that really impressed me. I want to work for him and experience winning, too, and help him bring that to Eastern.”