Cougar Corner | 5 Reasons WSU AD Jim Sterk Made Right Choice

Lew WrightSenior Writer IApril 7, 2009

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 20:  Head coach Ken Bone of the Portland State Vikings coaches against the Kansas Jayhawks during the Midwest Region first round of the 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on March 20, 2008 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Tuesday afternoon in Pullman, Washington State University athletic director Jim Sterk will proudly and officially introduce the 17th men’s basketball coach in the history of the school.  The media event will have little to do with Sterk and everything to do with Coach Ken Bone.

Unless you are a college basketball junkie, few know who Coach Bone is. In fact, many folks across Cougar Nation have furrowed foreheads and a common question.

“Who is Ken Bone?”

There are a myriad of reasons why Sterk has led WSU to make a great choice to replace Coach Tony Bennett who left to take over the basketball program at Virginia.

Rather than write a book on Coach Bone, let’s simplify the analysis.

Here are the top five reasons WSU chose the right man to continue Cougar basketball moving forward in a very positive direction:

1. Ken Bone is a native of Washington, born and raised in the Seattle area. His roots in the Evergreen State are strong and deep. Bone graduated from Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, WA. After high school, he played two years of community college ball, splitting seasons at Shoreline and Edmonds Community Colleges. Bone completed his undergraduate degree work at Seattle Pacific University where also earned a Masters Degree in Athletic Administration. While head coach at Portland State the past four seasons, Coach Bone opted to reside in Washington. Coach Bone loves Washington.

2. Ken Bone knows how to teach young players winning basketball. During his coaching stint at Division II Seattle Pacific from 1990-2002, the Falcons were an impressive 253-97. Over that twelve year span, SPU earned six Pacific West Conference championships and eight invitations to the NCAA playoffs. Consistency was on display at SPU where they made five Sweet 16 appearances in eight seasons. The Falcons fought their way to the semi-finals in 2000, a year where Coach Bone was honored as both the NABC District 8 and PacWest Conference Coach of the Year after his team finished with a 25-4 record. Coach Bone is a top notch basketball coach.

3. Ken Bone has led Portland State to school records with back-to-back twenty win seasons and a pair of appearances in the NCAA Tournament. His four years at PSU place him in the school record book with the highest winning percentage for a head coach since basketball was re-instated in 1996. Players recruited by Coach Bone have earned Big Sky Conference Player and Newcomer of the Year, the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year. Add to that four All-Big Sky selections. Coach Bone is focused on achievement and excellence.

4. Ken Bone knows how to coach as an underdog. This past season his Vikings set another school mark by earning PSU's first victory over a nationally ranked opponent when they took down No. 7 ranked Gonzaga.  Two weeks prior to that win, Coach Bone put together a game plan that nearly earned a victory over the Washington Huskies, losing a hard fought contest in Seattle, 84-83. Prior to the first game on the schedules of PSU and WSU this past season, the two schools met for a closed door scrimmage. Coach Bone’s team got the better of the Cougs that day. Coach Bone knows how to put young men in a position where they will succeed.

5. Ken Bone is no stranger to the in-state rivalry between Washington State and UW. Coach Bone was on Coach Lorenzo Romar’s staff as an assistant for three seasons. It was the success of the Huskies in his final year there, 2005, that brought schools calling to see if Coach Bone would take over their program. If you don’t recall, the UW won a share of the Pac-10 title and advanced to the Sweet 16 that season. Now he has the opportunity for the student to show the teacher how it should be done. When the Cougs meet the Huskies next January, the game will have a added dimension by pitting Coach Bone against Coach Romar in preparation and execution of a winning game plan. Coach Bone will savor victories over the Huskies.

There will be plenty of time to dissect the coaching and teaching philosophies of Coach Bone before the WSU basketball season begins next fall.

For now, simply stated, Tuesday afternoon Coach Ken Bone will officially become the next great basketball coach at Washington State and mark a new era for Cougar hoops.


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