Local: 503.250.1080
    Toll Free: 866.358.1080
| More
NCAA Basketball
Scoreboard | Standings | Teams | Leaders | Polls | Home

Washington State fires Ken Bone after 5 seasons

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

By TIM BOOTH

AP Sports Writer

(AP) -- Bill Moos saw the losses piling up at the same rate as the apathy was growing among Washington State's fans. It was clear that Ken Bone's time as the men's basketball coach was at an end.

"I felt all along that Ken was a good coach and certainly a great guy but it just wasn't working," said Moos, the Cougars' athletic director. "The record reflects that, the attendance at home games reflects that."

Bone was fired Tuesday morning after five seasons during which he was unable to sustain the success of his predecessor, Tony Bennett.

Bone was 80-86 in five seasons at Washington State and just 29-61 in the Pac-12. He failed to reach the NCAA tournament during his tenure on the Palouse, which began when Bennett left after the 2009 season to take the top job at Virginia. Bone had taken Portland State to the NCAA tournament the two previous seasons, a goal he was never able to achieve with the Cougars.

Bone was in the fifth year of a seven-year contract. His buyout included the final two years of his contract worth the remaining $1.7 million. The contracts of Bone's assistants will be honored through the end of June, Moos said.

Moos came to the realization about two-thirds of the way through the season that replacing Bone would be the likely outcome.

"We were struggling and the attendance was as low as I've ever seen it, not only here but in any Pac-12 venue," Moos said during a conference call Tuesday afternoon.

This year, the Cougars went 10-21 overall and just 3-15 in the league. They lost eight conference games in a row before beating UCLA in the regular-season finale. Attendance at Friel Court and interest in the WSU program has dwindled as the losses piled up. The Cougars averaged just 2,800 fans in 16 home games this season.

It was a difficult season overall for the Cougars. Danny Lawhorn was dismissed before the season began, leaving WSU without an experienced point guard. Royce Woolridge has received the bulk of the time at the position.

Leading scorer DaVonte Lacy missed eight games with appendicitis and a rib injury.

Bone had called this "one of the most difficult seasons I've ever coached." Bone also said uncertainty surrounding his future had hurt the Cougars in their efforts to recruit players, and that rival coaches were using it to recruit against Washington State.

"One of the areas that wasn't up to expectations was in the area of recruiting," Moos said.

Moos said he has a short list of potential replacements and would like someone with head coaching experiencing at the NCAA level. Two names instantly linked to the job were former Oregon coach Ernie Kent, who worked for Moos in Eugene, and Boise State coach Leon Rice, a Washington State alum.

Moos had praise for both coaches, but noted that Kent is "a TV announcer now doing a great job" working for the Pac-12 Network. But Moos said he would talk to Kent if he was interested.

Rice just finished his fourth season at Boise State after a long tenure as an assistant at Gonzaga.

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

Bone's tenure in Pullman started well. With a core of solid players, including future NBA star Klay Thompson and Brock Motum, he enjoyed some early success. The Cougars were 16-15 his first season, then improved to 22-13 and reached the semifinals of the NIT his second season. They were 19-18 and reached the championship round of the CBI in his third season.

But they were 13-19 in 2012-13, 4-14 in the Pac-12, and there was speculation all season that this might be a make-or-break year for Bone.

Bone enjoyed plenty of success as head coach of Division II Seattle Pacific, and at Portland State. He was also an assistant at Washington.

Associated Press writer Nicholas K. Geranios contributed to this report.

Updated March 18, 2014

w3 © 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

The Fan's Top Stories

Ducks #2 in unchanged college top 4


(AP) Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Mississippi State remained the top four teams in the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday heading into . . .more.

Blazers go for 9th straight win


(AP) Strong defensive play has helped key the Portland Trail Blazers' recent success, but they needed to rely on offense to extend the longest current winning streak in the NBA . . . more.

Mariota focused on the Civil War rivalry


(AP) Marcus Mariota says he hasn't made up his mind about what he's doing next season. It really doesn't matter because there's still plenty of work to do this season. The first item on the agenda . . . more.

Stanford's top playmaker to sit out vs. UCLA


(AP) The challenge for Stanford's struggling offense just got a little more difficult this week. The Cardinal will be without top playmaker Ty Montgomery for the regular-season finale at No. 9 UCLA on Friday. More.

The FAN's NFL Page


Follow your favorite teams and players - for stats, previews, recaps and realtime gamecasts, make The FAN's NFL Page your pro football destination.

The FAN's College Football Page


Ducks, Beavers, Pac-12, you name it! For the latest stories and real time scores, head to The FAN's college football page here.

FSU No. 1, top 4 unchanged in AP poll


(AP) Florida State is No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll, followed by Alabama, Oregon and Mississippi State. The top four teams were unchanged for the first time since late September. More.

Pac-12: replay crew erred in Stanford-Cal game


(AP) The Pac-12 Conference says its replay crew made two errors during Stanford's 38-17 win at California on Saturday. The officiating crew overturned a Cal touchdown . . . more.