Arrow-right Camera

Eastern Washington guard, top scorer Dean transfers to Utah

Glen Dean, Eastern Washington University’s outstanding sophomore point guard, has done an about-face on his earlier decision to remain a part of the Eagles’ program and will transfer to the University of Utah.

Dean announced his latest intentions by email Thursday afternoon, saying he will not be doing interviews or making further comments on the matter.

In his emailed statement, Dean said he reconsidered his earlier decision after additional discussions with family and friends and decided Utah was a better fit because of “my two life goals; my pursuit of a medical degree and to compete at the highest level athletic.”

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 former Eagles head coach Kirk Earlywine would not be renewed. The request was eventually granted after EWU athletic director Bill Chaves introduced former Whitworth University coach Jim Hayford as Earlywine’s successor, but Dean came out a short time later and said he would stay at Eastern and play for Hayford.

Dean, who informed Hayford of his latest decision on Thursday, gave no reason for his change of heart.

“Many may read into this decision a lack of regard for the Eastern basketball program and its new coach,” he said in his statement. “They couldn’t be more wrong. While the unexpected coaching transition clearly opened the door for my transfer consideration, Coach Hayford is not the reason for my departure.

“I have the utmost respect for Coach Hayford. I have found him and his staff to be very positive, caring and committed. They will do well at Eastern and I wish them and my friends every success.”

Dean, who was named 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 a team-high 13.3 points and 4.2 assists as the Eagles finished 10-20 overall, 7-9 in the Big Sky Conference, and qualified for the conference tournament for the first time in five years.

Hayford expressed surprise over Dean’s transfer plans.

“Since I was hired as head coach, he had made recent commitments to our programs and his teammates to remain at Eastern,” said Hayford, who informed the rest of his players about Dean’s decision Thursday afternoon.

“The team wishes their friend Glen Dean the best, but to a man, each said this would only further solidify their commitment to us changing the trajectory of Eastern basketball and becoming a winning program.”

Despite the loss of Dean, Eastern remains well-stocked with proven backcourt players.

Jeffrey Forbes and Kevin Winford both played extensive minutes as freshmen and combined to average 19.7 points per game as sophomores last winter. Cliff Colimon, a first-year junior college transfer, finished second on the team in scoring with an average of 10.4 point per game.

Freshman Willie Hankins, who redshirted last season, is expected to contribute significantly next year.

“I’m really excited about our three returning guards, who have all been successful in the Big Sky,” Hayford said. “And I like our redshirt freshman, as well.”

Hayford, who signed his first Eastern recruit, JC transfer Collin Chiverton, on Wednesday, said Rashano McRae and Carter Warnock, a pair of seldom-used role players on last year’s team, will not return to school next fall and are exploring playing options at the NCAA Division II and NAIA levels.