The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

    EWU coach David Riley hired by WSU

    Cougar men’s basketball finds next leader

    Eight days after the departure of Kyle Smith to Stanford, WSU has hired his replacement. They did not have to go far to find him, as Eastern Washington’s David Riley will be taking the reigns.

    Riley has been the head coach of the Eagles for three years. His record as head coach is 62-38, dominating the Big Sky Conference in his time there.  Riley was one of the four youngest coaches at the Division I level last season. 

    He was named Big Sky Coach of the Year two seasons ago when he coached Big Sky MVP Steele Venters and took the Eagles to the second round of the NIT tournament by beating WSU in Pullman.

    “Throughout the process, Dave’s coaching acumen was evident as was his ability to create a winning culture.” interim athletic director Anne McCoy said. “In just three seasons, he has emphasized player development through a fast-paced, high-powered offense that allows his student-athletes to play free and confidently.”

    Riley’s offense shot 128 more 3-pointers than the Cougs last year, operating under the opposite of Kyle Smith’s clock-running, slow-game philosophy. They finished first in the Big Sky each of the last two seasons.

    While there are no guarantees, Riley also likely has a chance to bring some of his former players with him. In the era of the transfer portal, that is a major aspect of any coaching hire.

    Five players averaged more than 10 points for the Eagles last year, led by Cedric Coward who averaged 15.4. A dominant scoring forward, Coward has a solid jump shot and holds nearly a 60% average from the field over his career. He also led the team in blocks at only 6-foot-6. 

    He and any of his teammates would be major additions to a Cougar team that has been gutted by the transfer portal.

    Riley’s hiring was met with encouraging responses by current WSU players and those in the portal.

    Jaylen Wells and Isaiah Watts each reposted the official announcement post to their Instagram stories, with Wells adding a handshake emoji and Watts saying “The work starts now. The post was also liked by Andrej Jakimovski, AJ Labeau, Jabe Mullins and Rueben Chinyelu, all of whom are in the portal.

    Isaiah Watts took to Instagram shortly after the hire in a livestream that seems to have confirmed he, Wells and Labeau to be staying with the program. If that ends up being true then Riley’s hiring has already paid off just hours after it happened. 

    The rebuild ahead of him will not be simple, but there are already pieces in place to help him get started.

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    About the Contributor
    HAYDEN STINCHFIELD, Evergreen sports co-editor
    Hayden Stinchfield is a senior in Criminology from Washougal, WA. He is considered by some experts to be the greatest to ever spot birds. Hayden began working at the Evergreen in fall 2022, and became Sports Co-Editor in summer 2023.