CHENEY, Wash. -- North Carolina-Wilmington assistant Kirk Earlywine has accepted the head coaching position for men's basketball at Eastern Washington University, school officials said Thursday.
Earlywine, a former assistant at Weber State, succeeds Mike Burns, who was fired May 30 after three seasons.
Earlywine, 42, has spent 22 years as an assistant coach in Division I schools, including seven years at Big Sky Conference rival Weber State.
"This has always been my goal and I've prepared myself for this for 22 years," Earlywine said in a release issued by the EWU athletic department. "It's very humbling because there are only 325 NCAA Division I jobs and not everyone gets this opportunity.
I'm very excited to work at a school I'm so familiar with."
Earlywine, one of four finalists interviewed for the position, agreed to a three-year contract that pays $90,000 a year with an option in future years, EWU President Rodolfo Arevalo said.
A 1987 graduate of Campbell University at Buies Creek, N.C., Earlywine is the son of an Indiana high school basketball coach.
Earlywine had assistant coaching stints at Ball State, Utah, Central Michigan, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Weber State and UNC-Wilmington.
The 2002-03 Weber State team posted a 14-0 Big Sky record to win
the Big Sky Conference championship before losing to Wisconsin 81-74 in the NCAA Tournament.
Earlywine also spent the 1995-96 season as a head coach at Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, N.C. His team at Pfeiffer was 21-8 overall and 14-4 in conference play to advance to the NCAA Division II Championships.
Other finalists for the EWU job included Washington assistant Jim Shaw, who withdrew from consideration on Thursday; Seattle Pacific head coach Jeff Hironaka and North Carolina-Greensboro assistant Rod Jensen.