Bone to replace Bennett as Wazzu coach
PULLMAN, Wash. -- Portland State basketball coach Ken Bone will become the new coach at Washington State.
Bone will replace Tony Bennett, who last week left for Virginia. He will be introduced Tuesday as the 17th head coach in WSU history.
Bone has led Portland State of the Big Sky Conference to two consecutive NCAA basketball tournaments, plus an eye-opening road win at Gonzaga this season.
Bone did not immediately return telephone and text messages from The Associated Press. Washington State athletic director Jim Sterk did not return a telephone message.
Bone, 50, was mentioned immediately as a possible replacement to Bennett. The Cougars also interviewed Utah State's Stew Morrill and Alabama-Birmingham's Mike Davis. Morrill took his name out of consideration on Monday.
Bone has been at PSU for four years, posting a 77-49 record. Before that, he spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Washington, and was longtime head coach at Seattle Pacific, where he worked with Sterk. Bone was 253-97 in 12 seasons at the Division II school.
Bone is the second major sport coach Sterk has hired out of the Big Sky Conference, after Paul Wulff, who was hired from Eastern Washington last year to coach the football team.
Bone has led Portland State to consecutive 23-10 seasons, the most wins and only NCAA tournament appearances in team history. This year, the Vikings became only the third team to beat Gonzaga in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004.
Bennett led the Cougars to a 69-33 record the past three years, the finest run in program history. The Cougars went to consecutive NCAA tournaments, and went to the NIT after going 17-16 this season.
Washington State is losing four seniors, including leading scorers Taylor Rochestie and Aron Baynes, as well as part-time starters Caleb Forrest and Daven Harmeling. Only two upperclassmen return next season, and the team will rely heavily on freshmen and sophomores.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press