After five (mostly miserable) years, $7 million in salary paid, and 98 basketball games lost, the Washington State Cougars finally fired men’s basketball coach Ernie Kent — even though they’ll be paying another $4.2 million to make him go away.
WSU athletics director Pat Chun obviously felt like the state of the program was such that a move had to be made, despite the cost. Or, perhaps he saw an opportunity because of the cost — the program is almost certainly hemorrhaging money, given the heretofore unthinkable lack of attendance, and there’s nowhere to go but up.
The pressing question on everyone’s mind was where Chun turns for the next coach. Conventional wisdom said that he’d likely be frugal, given the money they’ll be paying to Kent over the next three years. But conventional wisdom also said that there was no way WSU could afford to fire Kent — and, yet ... here we are.
It appears that Chun didn’t big with the program in much the same way former athletics director Bill Moos did with his hire of Mike Leach to oversee the football program — reports are that he’s targeting Kyle Smith of San Francisco out of the West Coast Conference. We’ll update as more information becomes available.