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FROM PULLMAN — As expected, Rod Jensen has been promoted to assistant coach by WSU coach Ken Bone.
Jensen was hired to fill the role of director of player development, but will now fill the role of assistant after the departure of Ben Johnson, who left the program last week and is headed back to Australia.
Jensen is known as a defensive specialist, so his presence as an actual assistant will allow him to work more closely with the players and teach his defensive philosophies. In his previous role — which was held for one season by former assistant Jeff Hironaka — Jensen wouldn't have been allowed to coach players on the court during practice.
Here's what we wrote when Jensen was first hired.
Washington State added a member to its basketball coaching staff on Wednesday, announcing the hire of veteran coach Rod Jensen as the team’s new director of player development.
Jensen, a former head coach at Boise State and most recently at the College of Idaho, replaces Jeff Hironaka, who left WSU to become an assistant coach at Portland State.
“We are excited about the addition of Rod Jensen to our staff and want to wish Jeff Hironaka the best at Portland State,” WSU coach Ken Bone said in a statement. “I’ve known Rod for many years and he is an outstanding basketball coach. I love the passion and energy he brings to the game.”
Jensen is known as a defensive-minded coach, and began his career in 1980 as an assistant at University of Redlands. He went on to spend 12 seasons as an assistant at Boise State before taking over as head coach in 1995, a position he held until 2002.
After that, Jensen moved on to an assistant job at Virginia, then was an assistant at UNC-Greensboro before becoming the head coach at NAIA school College of Idaho in 2010.
The school chose not to retain him at the end of the 2013 season despite COI’s 15-14 record, its first winning mark since 2009.
As director of player development, Jensen, like Hironaka before him, won’t be allowed to have on-court contact with players during practices. But he will be allowed to help devise game plans, and can sit on the bench during games.
And here's the full release from the school: