PULLMAN – Members of the Washington State men’s basketball team returned from spring break on Monday and still don’t know who will be coaching them next season after Ken Bone’s dismissal. Former assistant coach Curtis Allen has been tasked with keeping the machinery running as interim coach while athletic director Bill Moos searches for Bone’s replacement.
Moos told KXLY 920’s Bud Nameck on Monday that he expects the search to be over within 10-14 days, and that he believes it is important to have the new coach in place before the end of the NCAA tournament, which holds its championship game on April 7.
While Moos has declined to discuss the details of the coaching search while it is ongoing, here are three names that have surfaced:
Independent sources have confirmed that the former Oregon coach is interested in becoming WSU’s new basketball coach, primarily because of his relationship with Moos, who hired him at Oregon. Kent certainly meets Moos’ stated criteria of being able to recruit – from the state of Washington he successfully recruited future NBA players Aaron Brooks and Luke Ridnour.
Kent led the Ducks to five NCAA tournament appearances, including two trips to the regional finals. However, in his final two seasons at Oregon, his teams finished just a combined 9-27 against Pac-12 competition.
The former assistant coach to San Diego State’s Steve Fisher and Louisville’s Rick Pitino would be an interesting hire for the Cougars, and there is at least a little chatter that there may be mutual interest.
Menzies is currently the head coach at New Mexico State, where he has led the Aggies to NCAA tournament appearances in four of the past five seasons, including last week’s overtime loss to San Diego State in Spokane.
The 52-year-old Menzies has successfully mined Toronto for talent on the recruiting trail, hauling in Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year Daniel Mullings and gargantuan twins Sim and Tanveer Bhullar.
As a WSU alumnus, Rice would seem to be a natural fit. The Richland native has won 20-plus games in three of the last four seasons at Boise State and took the Broncos to the NCAA tournament last season.
However, indications are that the former Gonzaga assistant isn’t interested in the job at this time.