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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

WSU coaching search speeds along

PULLMAN – Washington State would like to hire a new women’s basketball coach soon, possibly by the end of the upcoming week, according to members of the school’s search committee.

Senior associate athletic director Pam Bradetich, one of four senior associates assisting athletic director Jim Sterk in the search process, said the school would begin making personal contact with candidates Monday.

“Depending on how those go, this is moving very quickly,” she said. “What we’ve found through this process is that this is an attractive job.”

Bradetich said the school has used a search firm to make contact with potential candidates last week, and although she declined to indicate a specific number of possibilities, she said the list is long and grew throughout the past week.

“It was amazing how much we were able to accomplish as far as generating an extensive list,” Bradetich said. “We’re just looking at our top candidates and taking it one step at a time.”

Boise State coach Gordy Presnell, whose tenure at Division II Seattle Pacific overlapped Sterk’s time there as an associate athletic director, has been widely assumed to be an obvious candidate for the job.

Presnell confirmed that he had been contacted by the search firm representing WSU on Tuesday. Beyond that, Presnell declined to comment about his potential candidacy.

Another intriguing option could come out of the men’s basketball offices, where assistant coach Ben Johnson is a possibility for the job, according to multiple department sources. Johnson coached women’s basketball in Australia before coming to WSU and in 2003 he was named the Queensland Australian Basketball League women’s coach of the year.

Johnson declined to comment about the search.

Sherri Murrell resigned as WSU head coach 10 days ago after her fifth season at the helm. The Cougars haven’t won more than eight games in a season since 1998-99, and haven’t had a winning season since 1995-96.