Washington State: Ernie Kent to Kyle Smith
The Cougars hired Ernie Kent with the idea that he could produce the same success in Pullman than he did during his tenure at Oregon. That didn’t happen. Kent was only able to muster a 22-68 record in Pac-12 play during his time at Washington State. It was an easy choice for the administration to let him go.
Selecting his replacement was a much tougher decision. In the end, the school lured Kyle Smith away from San Francisco. He’s not a household name, but his resume is pretty impressive. He did a quality job at Columbia before taking over the Dons’ program where he posted three straight 20-win seasons.
Smith is exactly the sort of out of the box hire that a program like Washington State needs to make. This is arguably the toughest job in the Pac-12 and they need to take risks if they’re going to outperform their resources. It’s reasonable for them to believe a coach who helped both Columbia and San Francisco punch above their weight can do the same for the Cougars.
Washington State may find themselves searching for another new coach in four years, but they deserve credit for trying to be creative. Smith has a meaningful chance to help the Cougars achieve some success in a few years.