Monday, April 06, 2009

BONE Lands WSU Gig

Get your "Bone the Dawgs" tees while you can, as it is all over now. I guess you saw this coming when Stew Morrill and Mike Davis pulled out early Monday AM, but the leader on day one of the search has prevailed. Per Vince Grippi, WSU has hired Ken Bone as their next head hoops coach, replacing the forked-tongue serpent who slithered off to Virginia, free to toil in the nether regions of the ACC basement (just kidding....kinda).

BH will give his detailed hoops thoughts on this hire in the coming days, and what it means for today AND tomorrow. But as someone who has heard Ken Bone on the KJR airwaves several times the last few years, I can't help but be enthusiastic over this hire. KJR's Ian Furness has had him on his show a few times, and the last time he had him on was right before March Madness. After the interview, Furness said "I will tell you what - IF Tony Bennett leaves WSU, Ken Bone is THE GUY for the Cougs!"

Bone is well respected on many levels, and you rarely - if EVER - hear anything negative about the guy. And oh yeah, he wins. Everywhere he's been. PERIOD.

*77-49 in four years at PSU, including two tourney appearances the last two seasons.

*253-97 in 12 seasons at SPU.

*Combined record at both schools = 330-146

Sounds good to me. But there are questions, as always.

1) Can he recruit the Seattle-area talent, a region full of D-1 players every single year? The same Seattle area that hasn't been plentiful under the Bennett regime?

2) What happens with Bone's approach with this roster? How much will he tweak things for a bunch of kids recruited into Bennett Ball into his vision? He is regarded a bit as a guy who has coached different styles, but will it be a bunch of 44-40 type scores, or will he rev things up? Does he have a true commitment to the defensive end, or will he try and make these kids run?

3) How about the assistants? Sanchez is likely gone to UVA, but what about Ben Johnson or Matt Woodley? And who will Bone take with him from the PSU bench?

4) And maybe the most pressing issue of all - can he keep the current young players happy while also reel in the recruits who have already inked their letters of intent (Thames anyone?)?

It is going to be awfully interesting to see what happens. But all I know is I really, really like this move! Compared to the other candidates reported in the media, he was the right choice all along.



Anonymous said...

Hate to be a downer but I've heard the "wins on all levels" but hasn't coached in the Pac-10 thing pretty recently. Dick and Tony Bennett were a success. To make this happen meant going out and hiring a big name who groomed his son (who played in the NBA, by the way) to take over. I wish Bone well but with the challenges of recruiting to a school down in Football and in Eastern WA, they needed to make a splash and think outside the box. Porter or Davis.

Soze said...

My opinion means nothing... what is Thames' opinion of Bone? Has anyone heard which way he was leaning with the Cougs hiring Bone (without any other factors, ie Ben Johnson staying or leaving)?

Jimmy Mac said...

Thames = gone. Bone won't be able to recruit at this level.

Soze said...

Jimmy Mac, is that your opinion, or has Thames said that if Ken Bone was hired, he would walk?

I have my own opinions of Coach Bone (they are similar to yours), but I'm looking for facts about Thames.

Big Hops said...

Already hating Bone huh. Why? Because of the big sky? There have been some Big Sky coaches who went on to success. Remember Judd Heathcote who was at Montana for five years on his way to a .603 winning % at MState. Mike Montgomery was at Montana for eight years before he went to Stanford, and he is a combined 547-245. Not shabby for a couple of big sky losers. Just because Bone is coming from the big sky doesn't mean he can't succeed in the pac-10.

anonymous said...

Go read the post by NUSSERs monster ego and his analysis from last week at In his detailed thorough analysis one can only find for free, he says it is a wonderous hire. BOO BONE. Give me a name coach not some old former uw hack assistant $@-+!.

'03CouveCoug said...

And whom might that be, annony?

Jimmy Mac said...

No that's not a fact about Thames, just my opinion. But I'll buy season tickets to Husky Football if Bone manages to keep Thames. And I certainly hope Bone turns out like Montgomery, it's just recruiting to WSU is a hell of a lot harder than recruiting to Stanford.

bill gray said...

Sterk takes another big risk on a coach hire. I like this one much more than his most recent hire. Regardless, if neither Wulff nor Bone work out, I hope that the administration has the sense to punt him.

That said, I hope Bone kicks some ass! Go Cougs!

bill gray said...

also, if the decision came down to a choice between Mike Davis and Bone, Sterk definitely chose correctly.

Anonymous said...

Floyd at SC was also a Big Sky Guy at Idaho

Pissed Off Student said...

When I see this hire, I imagine Sterk saying to himself, with all the budget cuts at Wazzu who can I hire for dirt cheap that I won't get fired for if things go bad. This officially marks the end to all rivalry in basketball with UW. Welcome aboard ex-husky.

Soze said...

Enough with the Big Sky comparisons. The Ken Bone haters get your point, it still won't change our opinion of the hire.

Lucas said...

While I respect all of your opinions, it's pure ignorance when you say "Bone can't recruit to the Pac 10."

He was Romar's number one, and I think he will be an excellent recruiter. His ability to recruit at this level will not be seen for at least two full seasons.

Think before you speak. Measure twice and cut once.

Pullman Sucks Y'all said...

Quick, name a big "name" coach WSU has hired in football or basketball when they were already a "name". Dennis Erickson? Mike Price? Marv Harshman? Kelvin Sampson? Jackie Sherill? George Raveling? Jim Walden? Were any of them anything to write home about at the time they were hired? The lone exception could be Dick Bennett, but that was such a left field hire after he decided to quit on Wisconsin that it can't even be compared.

In other words, your "name" coaches aren't lining up outside Bohler to claim the WSU job. When Mike Davis is your biggest name? A coach they are dying to dump at a place like UAB? What does that tell you?

It is hard for this WSU fan to swallow, but it is reality. We have almost never hired a "name" at the time we hired them, and we probably never will. Want to change that? Write a multi-million dollar check to the university so we can overpay for a name, or move the entire school to somewhere like Spokane, lock, stock and barrel, where it isn't so remote. Neither scenario is likely.

Whitty said...

Im shocked that this many people already hate our new coach. He hasn't even stepped foot in Pullman and everyone has the opinion that he is going to be a terrible coach because he apparently can't recruit and is from the Big Sky. Well, hate to burst everyone's bubble but he is the only realistic coach we had. Terry Porter wasn't really going to leave the Phoenix Suns to come coach here, and Davis would never leave UAB for Pullman. The truth is though that Bone is a good coach. Doesn't matter what level you are talking about he is a straight up good coach. HE WINS!
About recruiting and the predictions that he can't. I think thats crap too. He has obviously recruited pretty well pulling in some of those husky players when he was the number one assistant there. He knows the area because of this and has connections already established. (Can Porter or Davis bring that to the table.) Also, he recruits in the Big Sky now, so he is going after players that would rather go to UW,WSU, UO, OSU and even Seattle U before thinking about Portland State. Even with all that against him he still led his team to the tourney twice.
I think we all need to stop complaining about this hire and really realize we may have struck some gold with a guy who loves WSU, and will be 100% committed to making this program the best it can possibly be.

Jake Whitman

Sedihawk said...

Uh, Pullman DOES NOT suck y'all? But whatever, you are entitled to your opinion, just like anyone else.

Quite a mixed reaction. I have to admit at being surprised, as I thought Ken Bone had more admirers than he really does with WSU Nation? Time will tell if it works out but he will get his shot now.

And name or no name, geez, who cares? The new coach could be named Forrest Gump and as long as he wins games and runs a good program, does it matter?

Soze, I sure hope Thames still comes but we'll see. But don't just assume he's not coming because of Bone. Check this out from Bud Withers tonight at the Times:

"One of Bone's early tasks will be to assess the incoming recruits. The father of one of them, Sacramento-area point guard Xavier Thames, earlier said his son wanted out of his letter, but is willing to be re-recruited.

As it happens, Ray Thames has been in touch with an old friend, the father of Portland State forward Julius Thomas of Stockton, Calif., to get a reading on Bone.

"They like him," said the senior Thames. "They think he's a great guy, and they like his coaching style."

As for his son, Ray Thames said, "He still thinks Washington State is a really good fit for him. We just want to see if it's the right fit."

The Cougars just did a little of that themselves, assessing how to get from where they've been to where they want to go. Ken Bone was that vehicle, and that man."

Here's a thought - this hire might actually weaken UW, and not because Bone is at WSU. Cameron Dollar is already being mentioned as a replacement at PSU. Ask anyone close to UW basketball and they will tell you how important Dollar is to what they do, on and off the floor. Might be some nervous time at Muttlake?

Oh, and JUNIOR HOMERED TONIGHT in a 6-1 romp over the Twins. What a day, all the way around!

Longball said...

Don't worry Witty,

The nay sayers on this blog are defnately in the minority. I am blown away by the positive reaction to this hire in most places. Not sure why the haters all seem to concentrate here, but I suspect that there is only one "anonymous", not the legions it seems like.

Truth is this guy was going to get a big time job some day. Not too bad for us to get first crack at his services.

Stiffmiester said...

WHEN CAN WE GET THE K-BONE STEAK FOAM HANDS MADE? To quote 311 "F*** all the nay-sayers. Those that are piling on right now are the same that dawged (spelling intentional) CPW up until the Apple Cup. For Stiffmiesters sake give it some time.

Soze said...

I don't think anyone "hates" the hire... some are just extremely disappointed with it. To me, winning in D-2 and in the Big Sky doesn't equate to winning in the Pac-10. Recruiting to Portland State doesn't equate to recruiting at Washington State. I'm not saying he can't do either, I just don't think its such a formality as everyone else.

He has some local ties which is good, but I definitely question whether or not he can recruit the athletes that he needs for his "system." Nuss has said on a few occasions that Coach Bone can cater his system to his players... if that's the case, we definitely need to continue to limit possessions offensively and continue to recruit the high-character, team-first, defensive-minded players. Face it, most of the time "Joe Superstar" is going to choose Arizona or USC over WAZZU.

Getting Thames to re-committ is definitely the first test of Bone's recruiting skills, and if Thames decides to leave to Marquette, Florida or UCLA (or any one of the other behemoths currently on his trail), it won’t be the end of the world but it will definitely be the first proverbial “straw” on the camel’s back.

Big Hops – for every coach you can name that was successful, I could name two that failed at a bigger program. Hopefully you are correct and Bone is a great hire; I’m just not 100% sold yet.

Lucas – With all due respect, that’s a pot calling a kettle black. Whether or not he can recruit as a head coach in the Pac-10 is yet to be seen. I don’t know how he’s going to recruit and neither do you but we’re both hoping for the best.

Whitty - Saying that in Portland State, he's already competing against the northwest teams is a stretch, in my opinion. Just because a team makes the tourney twice, doesn't make that team full of Pac-10 talent. But again, I'm holding out optimism... not saying he can't do it, I'm just not guaranteeing that he can.

Sedi - sounds promising... I'm hopeful because Thames could be a monster recruit.

In the end the opinion of Sedi, Nuss, Lucas, myself or anyone else's opinion on this hire doesn't mean anything... all that matters is the current core of players want to stay, and the new crop coming in (2010 recruits and beyond) like him and continue to win. GO COUGS and GO KEN BONE (despite anyone’s comments, every single Coug is 100% behind you)!

kaddy said...

Great hire, in my opinion. All you naysayers should shut it, and give the guy a chance. If he fails, then bitch all you want.

Anonymous said...

First time post on this blog, but i've been following it since religiously since I struck this internet gold.

Love the hire. Seems to be a very favorable reaction at Cougfan as well. Not sure why the Neggies are on this website. Don't think we could've done much better. Give it some time. In two or three years, we may need an "AD Excellence Fund" to thank Sterk for being thorough.

As you can tell, i'm optimistic - Go Cougs!

-Coug 77

James said...

Weird... on every other blog every Coug loves the hire except for a quite of bit here.

Bone was my number 1 even with Porter's and Davis's (who is horrible)names being thrown around. The guy can flat out coach from what I heard and he is from the NW so he knows the area as far as recruiting goes. I'm definitely looking forward to watching an offense that isn't as boring as the motion version. Those saying that we need to slow it down obviously haven't watched our freshman. They looked better in transition and confused in the half-court offense and it's not like Bone's offense is "run and gun" as his number of possessions are still below the national average. He changes the game plan to work with the players he has and that's what we need!

Anonymous said...

I understand why there is a mixed reaction. However, I have SEEN a lot of mixed feelings so I am not sure this is the only place that people are concerned about the hire as some have suggested.

My feeling is that Bone might have seemed like a much more reasonable hire if Wulff wasn't such a terrible one. Even with GREAT athletes Wulff wouldn't have been ready for the Pac-10. He blamed Doba, the nutrition of the kids, and the kids themselves while rarely (if ever) saying that he or his staff needed to take some responsibility.

Bone, however, does have D1 assistant coaching experience (at UW) so he might fare much better than Wulff has. He has guided several programs over a long period and, again, was a number one assistant when UW was pretty darn good. Wulff did not bring that stuff to the table. So, it's apples and oranges.

That's my 2 cents

Hooty McBoob said...

Why are you guys still talking about basketball?? It's time to go OUTSIDE and play...

It's BASEBALL season!

Lucas said...

Witty - Terry Porter didn't choose the Suns over the Cougs. He was canned over two months ago by Phoenix

Sedihawk said...

Agree with Hooty, PLAY F*ING BALL!

Yesterday was all about Junior...and Felix. Hey, Junior Felix! Remember him?

Anyway, hooray baseball.

AtlantaCoug said...

Ken Bone: Good hire. And for those saying 'this is another bad hire like Wulff' I guess I can only say
I am glad my employer has more patience then some of these posters. Wulff may indeed end up being terrible, but no way you can make that call now. If anything I am encouraged by the recruiting and things being reported in Spring Ball.

Speaking of Junior Felix, I remember he and Griffey burst on the scene the same year and there was debate about which one of these guys was going to end up with better career. Good stuff.
And finally, Typical Griffey hitting a homer on opening day. He always had that flair. He might not hit another one for 3 months but it was a nice reminder of the player he was.

calebcherry said...

Just watched the press conference. The player representing the players was NOT Klay, but in fact NK. I really think that having one of the freshmen at the press event could have gone a long way in helping shape our team's perspective of it's priorities.

Did anyone else see it?

Also, just a side note... Our baseball team has been looking very strong and motivated this season at all of our home games. I believe we're sitting at 13-13 with very close losses to ranked opponents.

Does anyone that frequents this blog get to any of the games?

sedihawk said...

Not that it is worth a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, but I just heard Lorenzo Romar give about a 10-minute interview to Ian on KJR about Ken Bone. I hope some of you heard it. He couldn't have been more positive about Bone, and waxed on for 10 minutes about how great a hire this was. Sure, he is pumping up his own guy from the coaching tree, but he really was sincere for what he believes about Bone.

Say what you will about UW (and I have said a lot), Lorenzo Romar is one class act. He could have shrugged his shoulders, wished Bone and WSU good luck, and that would have been fine. Instead he went out of his way to sell Ken Bone. He went out of his way to describe Bone's character and coaching style, and how deeply respected he is in the game. And he congratulated Jim Sterk and Elson Floyd for doing such a great job with this hire.

Give the guy some time.

I did hear some of the sound clips from Bone's press conference. I know coaches are supposed to win the podium when they are hired, and he sounded good. He sounded very happy to be a Coug and almost in awe that he is in his dream scenario, which is coaching in the Pac-10 at WSU. Very cool.

And why all the haters here? I think we attract them for some reason, but I don't think we are particularly mean overall? Maybe it is because people can remain anonymous and you don't have to register, so they can say whay they REALLY feel without being banned/hunted down/whatever? It could be a lot of reasons. But we will keep doing what we do around here, unless it just gets totally out of hand.

Soze said...

Calebcherry, Nik was up there as the team representative because the team voted him as liasion between Sterk and the players during this hiring process.

Longball said...

calebcherry -

I live in Pullman and do attend baseball games. We are having our first 2 days of spring yesterday and today, so I haven't ventured out to previous games in the frequent blizzards we've been having. Now that old man winter seems to be cutting us some slack i plan to get out there and file a report. I am excited about the squad, but i am really gonna miss watching Paul Gran play.

From what I hear, all the players attended the press conference, but couldn't be seen on TV. Can anyone confirm this? I've also heard players were high on Bone since the moment Tony high tailed it for the Thomas Jefferson U. I think this was a major considderation in hiring him.

Anonymous said...

Let's here it for the all velocity/no command right handed bullpen of your Seattle Mariners. Way to piss away a 2-0 start.


BMels said...

Yeah I can't really figure out all the Haterade being drank on this blog. Is he some tested big name in the college ranks? No. All coaches have come from somewhere in their past and this guy is just that. Give him a chance before you start ripping him apart. The guy wins basketball games. Let me say that again: the guy wins basketball games.