April 22, 2009
PULLMAN, Wash. - Jeff Hironaka has been named assistant men's basketball coach at Washington State University, Cougar Head Coach Ken Bone announced Wednesday, joining Curtis Allen and Ben Johnson on Bone's first coaching staff at WSU.
No stranger to Bone's coaching philosophy, Hironaka spent the last seven years as the head coach at Seattle Pacific University after taking the reins from Bone prior to the 2002-03 season. During seven seasons in the head coaching post at SPU, Hironaka compiled a 134-67 record and directed the Falcons into each of the last five NCAA Division II Tournaments.
"Jeff will be an outstanding addition to our staff here at Washington State," Bone said. "We have a long lasting relationship which includes 11 years of working together at Seattle Pacific University. Jeff brings a wealth of coaching experience as both an assistant and head coach where he has had a tremendous amount of success. His energy and passion for the game are second to none."
Hironaka joined the SPU staff in 1991 and became the associate head coach in 1996. During his 18-year tenure on the coaching staff, the Falcons have gone 370-154, earned seven outright or shared conference championships and have qualified for NCAA Division II Tournament berths 13 of the last 16 years. Hironaka's 11-year run as Bone's chief aide was the longest of any assistant in program history.
A two-time Great Northwest Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, Hironaka was also the 2006 NABC West Region Coach of the Year. SPU registered a winning record in each of Hironaka's seven seasons, including a 20-9 mark in 2005. His 16-11 record in 2003 was the second-best debut season in the program's modern history.
Hironaka has more than 20 years of bench experience and an extensive network of contacts in the college game. Before coming to SPU, he served on the staff at Idaho State from 1987-90, and later was an assistant and assistant athletic director at The Master's College in Newhall, Calif. While at Idaho State he completed his master's in sports administration.
"As far as Washington State, it's a chance to work with Coach Bone again and coach in the Pac-10," Hironaka said. "You always want to see if you can compete against bigger name schools and coaches. Obviously I'm not calling the shots, but hopefully I am involved in the strategy of how we play those teams. The exciting thing is to go over there and see if we can get the program constantly going to the tournament. We've got a lot of work ahead of us, but it's a challenge I'm looking forward to."
A native of Weiser, Idaho, Hironaka began coaching in 1980 at his high school as the junior varsity coach and varsity assistant coach. In 1986 he became head coach at Idaho's Ririe High School and moved to Blackfoot High the following year.
Hironaka was an accomplished player, lettering three seasons at Eastern Oregon, where he obtained his degree in secondary education in 1980. He was a member of the team's coaching staff in 1979-80. At Weiser High he was an All-Snake River Conference guard.