By Jacob Thorpe The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN ? Members of the Washington State men?s basketball team returned from spring break this week to a program with no head coach.
The school dismissed Ken Bone last week.
Former assistant coach Curtis Allen has been tasked with keeping the machinery running as interim coach while athletic director Bill Moos searches for Bone?s replacement.
Moos told KXLY 920?s Bud Nameck on Monday that he expects the search to be over within 10-14 days, and that it?s important to have the new coach in place before the end of the NCAA tournament, which holds its championship game on April 7.
While Moos has declined to discuss the details of the coaching search, three names have surfaced: Ernie Kent, Marvin Menzies and Leon Rice
Independent sources have confirmed that Kent, the former Oregon coach, is interested in becoming WSU?s coach, primarily because of his relationship with Moos, who hired him at Oregon. Kent certainly meets Moos? stated criteria of being able to recruit from the state of Washington. During his time at Oregon, Kent successfully recruited future NBA players Aaron Brooks (Seattle) and Luke Ridnour (Blaine).
Kent led the Ducks to five NCAA tournament appearances, including two trips to the regional finals. However, in his final two seasons at Oregon, his teams finished a combined 9-27 against conference competition.
Menzies is a former assistant coach to San Diego State?s Steve Fisher and Louisville?s Rick Pitino. He?s currently the head coach at New Mexico State, where he?s led the Aggies to NCAA tournament appearances in four of the past five seasons, including last week?s overtime loss to San Diego State in Spokane.
The 52-year-old Menzies has successfully mined Toronto for talent on the recruiting trail, hauling in Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year Daniel Mullings and gargantuan twins Sim and Tanveer Bhullar.
Rice, a WSU alum, has won 20-plus games in three of the past four seasons at Boise State and took the Broncos to the NCAA tournament last season. However, indications are the former Gonzaga assistant isn?t interested in the job at this time.