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WSU basketball officially names Wayne Hunter as new assistant coach

The former Saint Mary’s star will replace Derrick Phelps on the bench for WSU.

PULLMAN, WA - FEBRUARY 18: Washington State Cougars Women’s Basketball versus the Arizona State Sun Devils at Beasley Coliseum - Basketball Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Last week, Derrick Phelps announced that he was leaving his job as WSU assistant coach. At the time, it was speculated that former Saint Mary’s player Wayne Hunter would take Phelps’ spot on the WSU bench. This week, that speculation was confirmed.

Kyle Smith announced on Tuesday that Hunter has been hired to be his new assistant coach.

Hunter has extensive ties to Smith. He played his collegiate basketball career at Saint Mary’s, where Smith was part of the Gael coaching staff. in 2010, as a senior, Hunter helped to lead the Gaels to a Sweet 16 berth, one of three postseason appearances SMC made during Hunter’s time as a player. Hunter would go on to start a coaching career and eventually reunited with Smith briefly last season as WSU’s recruiting coordinator. He held that position for just a couple of months before returning to his alma mater as an assistant coach prior to the 2021-22 season.

“I have had the pleasure of recruiting and coaching Wayne as an assistant,” Kyle Smith said in a university release. “I am thrilled to work with him as a member of our staff. Wayne will play a big role on the floor coaching. He will have a hand in all facets of our program, and he will specialize with working with the guards .His familiarity with our coaching style and our analytics will be vital.”

Hunter will replace Derrick Phelps on the WSU coaching staff. Phelps announced last week that he was leaving the position to return to the east coast in order to be closer to his family. Phelps, a Queens native and former North Carolina Tar Heel, followed Smith from San Francisco when he arrived in Pullman in 2019.

Hunter will join associate head coach Jim Shaw, assistant John Andrzejek, recruiting coordinator Derrick Wrobel and director of operators Anthony Lorenzo on the WSU coaching staff. Smith is clearly impressed with Hunter’s skills as a coach, but he says the Northern California native will also play an important role off the court.

“Wayne will also play a key role in recruiting,” added Smith. “He has strong ties in the West with a strong connection to the Bay Area. Wayne is a talented assistant with a bright future. We are thrilled to have him with us.”

Cougar Men’s Hoops Add Wayne Hunter to Coaching Staff - Washington State University Athletics
Wayne Hunter arrives in Pullman after spending last season at St. Mary's.

Washington State basketball program announces hiring of assistant coach Wayne Hunter | The Spokesman-Review
Washington State’s basketball program officialized a change in personnel on Tuesday, announcing Wayne Hunter as the team’s new assistant coach.

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