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WSU basketball legend Bennie Seltzer returns as Cougars assistant coach

UPDATED: Fri., May 26, 2017, 11:56 p.m.

Washington State University Cougars Bennie Seltzer looks to pass after getting boxed in by Arizona State University Sun Devils’ Stevin Smith (44) and Marcell Capers (10) during their Pac-10 basketball game.
Washington State University Cougars Bennie Seltzer looks to pass after getting boxed in by Arizona State University Sun Devils’ Stevin Smith (44) and Marcell Capers (10) during their Pac-10 basketball game.

PULLMAN – Washington State basketball legend Bennie Seltzer is returning to Pullman as an assistant coach, rounding out men’s head coach Ernie Kent’s staff. Seltzer, the school’s all-time assists leader, is now a 20-year coaching veteran and comes to Pullman from Loyola Chicago, where he was an assistant coach for the team that defeated the Cougars in the final game of the Paradise Jam on Nov. 21.

“My family and I are extremely excited to be a part of the Cougar Basketball program once again,” Seltzer said in a press release. “It has always been my dream to coach at my alma mater. Having the opportunity to do just that under the leadership of Ernie Kent excites me even more. We are truly grateful and want to thank Coach Kent, his staff, Bill Moos and the entire Cougar Basketball family for this amazing opportunity. Go Cougs!”

Seltzer further strengthens WSU’s recruiting footprint in the Midwest, where Kent frequently landed star prospects when he was the coach at Oregon. Haskins is the second full-time assistant coach added to Kent’s staff this offseason, following the hire of former Garfield High (Seattle) coach Ed Haskins in April.

It has been a productive offseason for the men’s basketball program, which also signed Roberto Gittens, who is the first four-star recruit to sign with the Cougars since Klay Thompson.

Seltzer played at WSU from 1990-93 and when he graduated he had the second-best career scoring mark with 1,423 points, which now ranks ninth. He also ranks seventh in career steals, No. 12 in minutes played and averaged 17.9 points per game during a First Team All-Pac-10 senior season.

Seltzer began his coaching career in 1997 as an assistant at Oklahoma under his former college coach, Kelvin Sampson. He was a member of eight NCAA Tournament teams at OU, then moved on to Tom Crean’s coaching staff at Marquette in 2006.

After two years ending in March Madness trips, Crean and his staff went to Indiana, where Seltzer played a role in recruiting NBA talent like Victor Oladipo. In 2012 Seltzer returned to his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama and was named the head coach at Stamford University. Seltzer was also an on-court coach for USA Basketball’s national team trials in 2004.

“Bennie was an outstanding player at Washington State and I think he’ll add a lot to our staff and to our basketball program,” Kent said. “Anytime you can bring back a successful product of your university, it speaks volumes of how we prepare our student-athletes for success.”



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