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Former WSU A.D. Sterk explains why he gave Bone 7-year contract

Staff Reports

Ken Bone may have been dismissed as the men’s basketball coach at Washington State last week, but the school still owes Bone the $1.7 million remaining on the final two years of his contract.

That is because former WSU athletic director Jim Sterk signed Bone to an atypically long, seven-year contract in April 2009. Furthermore, the contract was fully guaranteed, meaning that in the event the coach was fired he would continue to be paid as if he hadn’t been dismissed.

Sterk is now the athletic director at San Diego State and was in Spokane for the Aztecs’ NCAA tournament games against New Mexico State and North Dakota State. He said that the reason for the contract’s length was that women’s basketball coach June Daugherty had also been given seven years.

“I think June Daugherty had received a seven-year deal and so I think (president Elson Floyd) agreed that was fair to have when we hired Ken on the men’s side.”

Typically, contracts for coaches include a buyout clause that pays them a fraction of their salary if they are fired, or requires them to pay back the school a certain figure if they leave voluntarily.

Sterk added that because Bone had previously taken Portland State to consecutive NCAA tournament appearances he was “somebody that was marketable at the time.”

Bone led the Cougars to the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament in his second season at WSU. But he finished with just an 80-86 record, including 29-61 in Pac-12 play.

“I think he’s a really good coach,” Sterk said. “I think he just didn’t get enough kids to come and be a part of the vision, and then I think he had some injuries as well. It was a combination of things but it’s just too bad it didn’t work out.”

No more foul play

Even without watching game film, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has a pretty good idea of what he’ll be stressing this week as the Spartans prepare for the Sweet 16: needless fouls.

For the second straight game, MSU sent an opponent to the line at least 30 times; this time the Spartans almost didn’t live to tell about it.

“If there’s a negative right now that I’m concerned with, we’re in foul trouble all the time,” said Izzo, who saw four of his starters whistled for at least three fouls. Forward Adreian Payne had four, playing just 30 minutes and never approaching the record-breaking, 41-point outing he enjoyed in a second-round win over Delaware.

Harvard made 23 of 30 foul shots against the Spartans; two nights earlier, Delaware was 30-39.

Harvard muscle

With its smallish lineup challenged by a Michigan State team that has dominated on the boards all season, the Harvard players weren’t about to back down – especially in the second half.

In fact, their second-half comeback was born in the defensive paint; Harvard lost the rebounding battle by just 34 to 32 and forced 11 second-half MSU turnovers after getting just one before intermission.

“Obviously, after the first half, we felt like we didn’t play great, and the second half was all about or effort and fight,” said forward Steve Moundou-Missi, who finished with 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

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