PULLMAN – Washington State will introduce former Washington coach June Daugherty as its new women’s basketball coach this afternoon, having agreed in principle to a seven-year deal.
Daugherty visited Pullman on Monday, becoming the first candidate to travel to the school’s campus for meetings with athletic department officials. According to a WSU source close to the situation, she was offered the job on Tuesday and negotiations – though not yet complete – have progressed since.
Daugherty coached at Washington for 11 seasons before being fired last month, despite having led UW to the NCAA tournament for a fourth time. Prior to her tenure at UW, Daugherty served as the head coach at Boise State from 1989-96. In her 18 years as a head coach, she has compiled a record of 314-213.
The only other candidate to interview in Pullman was men’s assistant coach Ben Johnson, who had been a coach in a professional women’s league in Australia before joining WSU.
The WSU source said the school contacted about 50 people through a search firm to gauge interest since Sherri Murrell’s surprise resignation on April 5. WSU has not officially announced that Daugherty is the school’s choice, but has publicized the news conference.
That event – scheduled for 1:30 p.m. – will bring Daugherty into a situation vastly different than the one she worked in across the state for the last decade. At Washington, Daugherty’s teams were able to make the postseason nine times, including four NCAA tournament berths.
WSU, on the other hand, has had little success in women’s basketball. Daugherty never lost in 22 games against the Cougars at Washington, and WSU has been to one NCAA tournament, losing in the first round in 1991.
Two players who played significant minutes on last season’s 5-24 team, guard Amanda DuRocher and forward Dani Montgomery, have announced their intention to transfer, and WSU still has a handful of available scholarships unfilled for next season. The school is also losing all-time leading rebounder Kate Benz to graduation.
Although it is unusual for coaches to make the cross-state transition in this rivalry, it is not unprecedented. Men’s basketball coach Marv Harshman earned great acclaim in 13 seasons at WSU, only to take the UW job and spent 14 similarly successful years there.
Daugherty will be joined on staff by her husband, Mike, who served as an assistant with her at Washington.
The WSU source also said that Daugherty’s contract will pay her more than the $166,000 that Murrell was set to receive had she stayed for a sixth year, but the former Huskies coach is expected to take a pay cut from her previous position.