PULLMAN – Compete year-in and year-out, occasionally have a chance to win a Pac-12 regular season or tournament championship and make the postseason three out of five years.
Those are the goals Washington State athletic director Bill Moos named for the men’s basketball program after dismissing coach Ken Bone on Tuesday morning.
With a generally uncompetitive team and only a pair of postseason invites to the second and third tier of postseason tournaments – the National Invitation Tournament and College Basketball Invitational, respectively – the Cougars failed in that regard over the past five years.
Whether or not they continue to fail will depend largely upon who Moos hires to be the next coach. He hopes to announce a hiring as soon as possible; preferably while the NCAA tournament is underway.
Perhaps more than any other aspect Moos will prioritize a candidate’s recruiting ability.
“I really think in the sport of men’s basketball it’s so much about recruiting and having good, good players,” Moos said. “Here we’re going into the field of 68 at the (NCAA tournament) and there are a heck of a lot more, in my opinion, a heck of a lot more teams that are in that tournament because of good players than because of good coaching.”
The administrator reiterated that he has a practice of always keeping a list of prospective candidates in case of an unexpected vacancy. While Moos says that he was not in any direct discussions with any potential future coaches, he did acknowledge that he had sought counsel on who to contact.
One person Moos plans to seek the advice of is Ernie Kent, who he hired to be the men’s basketball coach when he was the athletic director at Oregon.
Or maybe he’ll simply be the new coach.
“Ernie has proven during our time together at Oregon that he can do all the things I’m talking about,” Moos said.
Moos said that his list currently is only comprised of head coaches and that he prefers to hire a ‘proven commodity’, preferably one with experience at a school without unlimited resources.
He says that he plans to offer a competitive salary, but won’t break the bank at a time when basketball is generating minimal revenue due to paltry gate receipts.