BREAKING: Ernie Kent is Cougar hoops coach

ERNIE KENT

ALMOST 17 YEARS to the day since he brought the old Kamikaze Kid back home to Eugene to lead the Oregon Ducks, Bill Moos is turning to Ernie Kent once again. Only this time Kent is being asked to elevate Moos' alma mater rather than his own. Cougfan.com has learned through multiple sources close to the program that Kent is about to be announced as Washington State's next hoops coach.

If Kent can do for the Cougars what he did for the Ducks -- two trips to the Elite Eight and more wins than any coach in school history -- then Moos will have worked magic a second time.

The Kent-Moos reunion bears little resemblance to their first connection.

Back in 1997, Kent was a 42-year-old up-and-comer who had just taken St. Mary's to the NCAA Tournament and Moos was in the midst of turning Oregon into a multi-sport juggernaut. Today, Moos is out of retirement resuscitating the athletic department of the school he has adored since childhood, and Kent is a seasoned, though youthful-looking, veteran of 59 who hasn't had a whistle around his neck since the Ducks released him after going 16-16 (7-11) in the 2009-10 season.

He made a base salary of just more than $1 million when he left Oregon and likely will be in that neighborhood at WSU.

Kent is coming off a three-year run as a basketball television analyst and has made no secret of his desire to get back on the sidelines. A year ago, he was believed to be close to taking over at Colorado State.

His selection ends more than a year of speculation that truly began when the Cougars struggled in 2012-13. The chorus reached deafening proportions as this just-concluded season wore on and the Cougars struggled to a 10-21 record with just three Pac-12 victories.

Kent, because of his long connection with Moos at Oregon, has been widely viewed as one of the leading contenders for the WSU job, if not the leading contender.

The Portland Oregonian once described his 13 seasons at Oregon as "fun, entertaining, successful." He was 235-174 with the Ducks, where his style was unabashedly high-octane push-the-ball-up-the-court. His players tended to have outstanding speed and excellent three-point-shooting skills.

And you can never count his teams out. In 2002-03 the Ducks finished fifth in the Pac-10 -- and proceeded to win the Pac-10 tournament. In 2006-07 they finished tied for third in the conference, yet won the Pac-10 tourney that year too.

His players also tend to do well in the classroom. His teams held the No. 1 Academic Progress Rate (APR) in the Pac-10 Conference three out of his last four years.

IN MANY RESPECTS, Kent is a complete opposite from his predecessor. Where Kent is glib and quotable, Bone was mostly low key. Kent dresses like he just walked off Madison Avenue, while Bone was more of a Macy's off-the-rack type. Kent has been a familiar face over the years with USA Basketball, variously coaching the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh, and Bone has been more regionally focused.

For the psyche of the fan base, those secondary but highly visible traits could be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Here is more background on WSU's new head man ...

EARLY COACHING YEARS:
After graduating from Oregon, Kent was appointed the Ducks' junior variety coach by Dick Harter. He then moved to O'Hara Catholic High in Eugene before returning to Oregon in 1979 as an assistant under Jim Haney. From there, it was overseas to Saudi Arabia until 1987 and then back the states as an assistant to Boyd Grant at Colorado State for two seasons. He then joined Mike Montgomery at Stanford for two seasons before taking the helm at St. Mary's in the 1991-92 season. The Gaels went 23-8 in his final year there, 1996-97, and earned an NCAA Tournament berth.

THE PLAYING DAYS:
Kent was a 6-5, 178-pound guard-forward for the Ducks from 1973-78, teaming up with notables such as Ron Lee, Greg Ballard, Stu Jackson and Bulldog Drummond to former Harter's famed Kamikaze Kids. He was nicknamed "Million Moves" and averaged 7.1 points per game over his career, but knee injuries dogged him throughout his career. He came to Oregon from West High in Rockford, Ill.

PERSONAL:
Family genes... Son Jordan was three-sport standout at Oregon who had a brief stint with the Seattle Seahawks.

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