For the second time in as many days, the Washington State Cougars announce an extension of one of their basketball coaches. This time, it’s men’s basketball coach Kyle Smith’s turn, with the school announcing a two-year extension of his deal to run through 2026-2027, the same as Kamie Ethridge’s extension yesterday.
“In our first two seasons we feel we have planted the seeds for a successful basketball program,” said Smith in a press release. “It is nice to know that we have been given a vote of confidence with the support from our Athletic Director, Pat Chun, our President, Kirk Schulz, and the entire Pullman Community.”
Smith landed in Pullman after a three year stint coaching the San Francisco Dons, including fourth place finishes in the West Coast Conference each year. The turn around from Ernie Kent’s disastrous run as head coach has been more dramatic than we possibly could’ve imagined. In Smith’s first season, the Cougs finished with a .500 record and won their first conference tournament game in over a decade. Last year, on the backs of a much improved Noah Williams, Isaac Bonton and freshman sensations Efe Abogidi and Dishon Jackson, the Cougs finished with a winning record for the first time since 2011-2012.
How are things looking going forward? Pretty, pretty good.
Though WSU didn’t disclose any additional details of the extension, even if it doesn’t include a larger buyout, this goes a long way to securing Smith’s employment in Pullman. He’s at the helm of a team on one heck of an upswing and, along with Ethridge, represents Pat Chun’s two best hires to this point in his time as Wazzu’s AD.
To have a coach that so quickly transformed them sticking around even longer is welcome news for a program that has languished in the past but appears to be ready for a jump into the big time.