March 10, 1999
PULLMAN, Wash. - Kevin Eastman announced his resignation as WSU men's basketball coach Wednesday. The announcement was made with Athletic Director Rick Dickson to WSU athletic department staff and members of the media at a morning press conference on the Pullman campus.
"First and foremost, let me say that even with my decision to resign, I feel absolutely nothing negative about Washington State, or my immediate boss, Rick Dickson" Eastman said. I feel very fortunate to have been able to weigh all the factors and make what I feel is the best decision in the interests of me, my family and Washington State University. To the public, I know I'm the coach at Washington State, but I'm also a coach and mentor to my players, a husband to my wife and a father to my son. There are more factors involved than just the wins and losses.
"I was given what I thought -- and still believe -- was a wonderful opportunity at a great school, working with excellent people. However it just hasn't worked out the way we would have liked. I feel very, very good about many aspects of our program, but feel bad that we were not able to get the results that I certainly would have liked in the win-loss category. We worked very, very hard and we were very detailed and focused in our efforts. However as I have maintained to our team many, many times throughout the year, sometimes you can give your heart and soul to something, but it doesn't work out the way you want it to."
Eastman produced a 69-78 record (.469) in his five seasons at WSU. He is the only Washington State basketball coach to take the Cougars to consecutive postseason appearances with a pair of National Invitation Tournament bids in 1995 and 1996.
In 1996, the Cougars earned the highest preseason rankings in school history - 28th by the Associated Press, 29th in the USA Today/CNN poll. In 1995, Eastman became the first WSU skipper since Karl Schlademan in 1927 to post a winning record in his first year at the helm. The Cougars defeated a school-record five teams ranked in the Associated Press top 25 en route to an overall 18-12 record.
"Nearly five years ago when we began the hiring process for men's basketball at Washington State, two priorities in the criteria were placed at the top: one, a proven head coach to lead the talented returning members of an NCAA tournament team, and two, a coach with the highest level of integrity who had a demonstrated record of excellence with NCAA rules compliance and a strong commitment to the academic success of the student-athletes in his program," Dickson said. "By these criteria, Kevin surfaced above all involved and these are the qualities that Kevin's teams and his program reflected the last five years.
"Washington State has had 11 Pacific-10 all-academic selections during Kevin's tenure and all five members of this year's senior class will graduate by the end of this summer. I'm just as disappointed as Kevin that there weren't more wins along the way, but I want to emphasize there was no directive to resign, but rather an indication to honor the last year of his contract with possible extensions. Kevin's decision of resignation reflects his belief of what is best for the Washington State basketball program and he and his family. I respect and accept his decision and am appreciative of all of his contributions and accomplishments to this program."
The 42-year-old Eastman has a 12-year career record of 193-153 (.558) which also includes head coaching assignments at UNC-Wilmington (59-53) and Belmont Abbey College (65-22).
"I want to give thanks to all the players, coaches and support people who have worked every bit as hard to work toward the same goals we had. I truly will be forever thankful for their efforts. In terms of my future, right now I don't think that's as important as making sure I do everything I can to make the transition go as smoothly for the players as possible. The players should be the focal point from here on and not me. I am still a big fan of these players and of Washington State University and I am very confident that our administration will find and hire a very good coach."
Eastman was born April 7, 1955, in New Brunswick, N.J. He and his wife Wendy are the parents of a son, Michael Christopher "Jake" Eastman (July 30, 1990).
Dickson indicated he has already initiated the search for a new head coach and hopes to name a successor shortly after the NCAA Final Four on March 27-29.
|Kevin Eastman's Career Record|
|1994-95||Washington State||18-12||.600||10-8||.556||T/5th||Pacific-10||2-1||.667||NIT Quarterfinals|
|1995-96||Washington State||18-11||.586||9-9||.500||T/5th||Pacific-10||1-1||.500||NIT Second Round|
|12-Year Career Total||193-153||.558|