Report: Leon Rice won't be next WSU basketball coach

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

The coach who took Boise State to the NCAA tournament a season ago has decided not to return to his alma mater.

Boise State coach Leon Rice will not be the next coach at Washington State, according to a report by ESPN's Andy Katz.

This comes on the heels of news that WSU had offered its job to someone, and a report that Rice had interviewed for the job last week. It has not been confirmed that Rice was indeed the one offered the job, and at least one former WSU beat writer is skeptical that Rice was the choice.

Naturally, Rice appears to have parlayed this into a nice raise from Boise State.

From the moment Bone was let go, Rice was linked to the job. He is an alumnus of WSU and has experienced a high degree of success in a short amount of time at Boise State, leading the Broncos to the NCAA tournament in 2013 -- the first at large selection ever for the school. He has posted a 55-41 overall record at BSU with a 21-27 conference record.

Rice is intimately familiar with the Inland Northwest and has seen the Cougars have success first hand: He served as an assistant under Mark Few at Gonzaga from 1999 to 2010 -- the last four as associate head coach, where he was considered the "coach in waiting" -- before moving on to Boise, where he has successfully overseen the program's transition from the WAC to the Mountain West.

At the press conference following Bone's dismissal, Rice was one of two potential candidates Moos referred to by name.

"Leon Rice is doing a good job with Boise State," Moos said. "I know that Leon is an alum. He's going to get some looks and he deserves that. He's done a nice job at Boise State and I really think he was a big part of the success at Gonzaga. I'm not going to go any further than that."

Moos emphasized on two different occasions that recruiting would be a key part of his decision, and Rice had fit that bill, albeit creatively: He has mined Australia extensively with the help of assistant John Rillie, an Australian who played his college ball at Gonzaga. WSU has a history of successfully recruiting and developing Australians such as Aron Baynes, Brock Motum and current player Dexter Kernich-Drew, but that pipeline closed under Bone's watch. Re-opening that conduit surely was attractive.

Back to the drawing board for WSU.

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