Veteran coach Ernie Kent enters his first year as the head coach at Washington State University and his 20th overall as a men’s basketball head coach in 2014-15. Kent was named the 18th head coach in WSU men’s basketball history, March 31, 2014.
The Cougars’ coach spent 13 years as the head coach at his alma mater, Oregon, beginning with the 1997-98 season until the 2009-10 season. Kent spent the last two seasons as a college basketball analyst for Pac-12 Networks after four years as an analyst for Fox Sports Net. He served as both an in-game analyst and was on the studio show, Pac-12 Playbook: Basketball, on the Pac-12 Networks since the show’s inception in 2012-13, the first year of the networks.
Kent has also been involved with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) as he was the president during the 2011-12 season and is currently the associate executive director of the NABC.
Kent has a 325-254 (.561) mark as a head coach, having spent six seasons at the helm for Saint Mary’s in Moraga, Calif., and 13 at Oregon.
In his 13 years at Oregon, Kent compiled a 235-174 (.575) record and a 109-125 (.466) conference mark. His 109 conference wins rank 17th most in Pac-12 history (including Pacific-8 and Pacific-10 Conferences). While at Oregon, Kent led the Ducks to seven postseason appearances, including five NCAA Tournament Appearances (2000, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008) as well as a Pac-10 regular-season (2002) and two conference tournament (2003, 2007) titles.
Kent took two Oregon teams to the NCAA Elite Eight (2002 and 2007) and guided the Ducks to the NIT Final Four on two occasions (1999, 2004). Kent helped produce four NBA First Round Draft selections and became Oregon’s all-time wins leader. He was named the 2002 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, while the NABC, USBWA and Basketball Times all recognized him as their district coach of the year, and he was one of 20 Naismith Coach of the Year finalists that season.
Under Kent’s direction, the Duck men’s basketball team ranked No. 1 amongst Pac-10 schools in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate several times throughout his head coaching career.
As the head coach at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif., from 1991-92 to 1996-97, Kent put together a 90-80 ledger, including a 23-8 mark in 1996-97 and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The tournament bid, the first at the school since 1989, was the result of the Gaels’ fourth conference title in school history. Kent also guided the Gaels to an 18-10 mark in 1994-95 and still ranks second on the all-time win chart at Saint Mary’s.
Kent served as an assistant at Stanford under Mike Montgomery for two years (1990-91), helping the Cardinal advance to the NIT both years and winning the NIT title in 1991.
As an assistant to Boyd Grant at Colorado State (1988-1989), Kent helped aid the Rams in their postseason bids in the 1988 NIT (advancing to the semifinals) and 1989 NCAA Tournament second round after clinching the Western Athletic Conference championship.
From 1980 through 1987, Kent lived in Saudi Arabia where he coached the al-Khaleej Club in Sayhat for three years, helping the team advance to the playoffs each year. He also worked for the Arabian American Oil Company in Dhahran.
Kent began his coaching career at his alma mater in 1977 as the freshman coach under Dick Harter and again assisted in 1979 as an understudy to Jim Haney. In between, he coached Eugene’s O’Hara Catholic School for one season.
Kent has served as head coach, assistant coach and committee member for USA Basketball, winning a pair of gold medals in 2001 and 2003. He has coached some of the world’s greatest players, including NBA All-Stars and 2008 Olympic gold medalists Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Andre Iguodala and Deron Williams.
A 1977 graduate of Oregon with a degree in community service and public affairs, Kent averaged 7.1 points and 1.8 rebounds during his four-year basketball career with the Ducks (1974-77). He helped lead his team to a No. 8 ranking during his sophomore season. In his time as a student-athlete at UO, Kent was recognized with the Outstanding Service Award for community service and picked up the March of Dimes Outstanding Achievement Award.
A Parade Magazine All-American in 1973 at Rockford, Ill., West High School, he was also named Scholastic All-America by Scholastic Magazine. A National Honor Society member, Kent received the American Legion Outstanding Achievement Award and was named all-state in Illinois and recently inducted into the Rockford Public Schools Athletics Hall of Fame.