Glen Dean, Eastern Washington University’s sophomore guard and top scorer, has asked for – and has been denied – the immediate opportunity to talk with other schools about the possibility of transferring in the wake of the firing of former Eagles head coach Kirk Earlywine.
Dean, who averaged 13.3 points and a team-high 4.2 assists for an Eastern team that finished 10-20 last winter but advanced to the Big Sky Conference tournament for the first time in five years, said he asked Eagles athletic director Bill Chaves for his release in mid-March, about a week after learning of Earlywine’s dismissal.
His request was denied, and Dean has since appealed that decision to the university.
In the meantime Chaves was busy trying hire a new coach, and on Tuesday introduced Jim Hayford as Earlywine’s successor.
Chaves said his decision to deny Dean’s request was based primarily on the good of the program, but also on the emotional and sensitive issues involved in almost any coaching change.
“My first obligation is to the program and the university,” he explained, “and I wanted to make sure the program was as sound as possible for the next coach coming in. So I felt my decision was fair.
“If someone finds out after the new coach is hired that things don’t jive, then we’ll walk down that (transfer) path. But during that emotional kind of interim 2½-week period (between coaches), I didn’t want any rash decisions to be made.”
According to Chaves, Dean’s appeal must be heard within 15 days by a university body outside of the athletic department. And Dean expressed concern that his chances for getting a scholarship at another school lessen with each passing day.
Still, Dean seemed not to be in a big hurry to make a decision after attending a team dinner at Hayford’s home on Monday and then meeting one-on-one with his new coach on Tuesday.
“I’m not closing the door on Eastern by any means,” he said. “Now, with Coach Hayford in and getting to know him these last couple of days, he seems like he’s a really good guy. He’s given me the respect, and I need to give him the respect back.
“Who knows? Eastern could still be the right place for me. And if I do decide to stay, I want us to have a good relationship. I don’t want to go into next season on bad terms, by any means.”
Dean admitted to having made many close on-campus friendships during his two-year stay at Eastern, and added that walking away from those would be difficult.
“Not only with guys on the team,” he said of those friendships, “ but with the school body, my academic advisor, the teachers and the other people around campus – they’ve all been supportive and they’ve all played a role in me being successful not only on the court, but in the classroom.
“Like I said, I’m not closing the door on Eastern at all. And, truthfully, it’s where I want to be. But going into college, I got to choose my coach and who I was going to spend four years with. Unfortunately, circumstances came up and I’ve now been appointed a coach – who just happens to be a really a good guy, from what I can tell.
“I feel fortunate to have gotten Coach Hayford as my coach, and I want to give it some time to get to know him even better. But I also want to take a look at some other schools and some other coaches that might be beneficial to me and help me grow into the man I want to become.”
Dean said he expects to hear the results of his appeal next week.
According to Chaves, no other player on last year’s roster has requested the chance to talk to other schools.