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

David Riley opens era with introductory press conference

“This is a dream job for me”
David Riley addresses WSU fans for the first time since his hiring, April 4, in Pullman, Wash.

The David Riley era at WSU began April 4 with his first press conference in crimson and gray. The 20th WSU men’s basketball head coach was introduced by school president Kirk Schulz and interim athletic director Anne McCoy in the Alger Family Club Room at Gesa Field.

Schulz opened the press conference.

“I am thrilled that he said yes, and I just want to express my appreciation for stepping forward, coming to a situation where we’re going to have high expectations next year,” Schulz said. “I think we’ve got the right coach that can work with our players and make sure that we’re exceeding those expectations.”

Riley’s hiring was something of a debut for McCoy, who was named as the interim just a few days before the announcement. Schulz thanked her in his opening as well.

“I also want to take a moment just to thank [McCoy], Anne did a great job through all this. Of course, people in the media are speculating every day,” Schulz said. “Anne through all of it was systematic. She checked lots of people and talked to some of the best basketball folks out there and made sure that we brought that person to take us to the next level.”

McCoy was next to speak.

“I want to take just a moment before we turn it over to the man of the hour just to talk a little bit about our process. I think at Washington State University that is extremely important,” McCoy said. “We looked at the tradition, at the future and at the present to figure out the qualities that would put the next head coach in the best possible position.”

McCoy was in her current role for most of the hiring process, with her predecessor departing for UW just one day after the job became open. In what was one of her first media appearances as the interim AD, she made sure to congratulate and thank the athletes who put the team where it went this year. She also made it clear that they were involved in the process too.

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to add public congratulations to the great season you gave us all. It has been so much fun,” McCoy said. “Their feedback was super important. I don’t know that I have seen a team that has loved each other as much as they have.”

She ended her statement by introducing Riley to a round of applause. He opened his WSU career already saying the right things.

“I think this is such an amazing opportunity for me. This is a dream job for me, and I am so excited to be at WSU. It is the perfect spot for the way I want to run a program.” Riley said. “The reason I got into this was to help mentor people as they are springboarding their lives. That’s what I’m most excited about, the opportunity to coach a group of young men like this.”

When he said that, he motioned to the seats in front of the podium. Sitting there were several members of the team, some of whom are currently in the portal. Jaylen Wells headlined, having declared for the draft that morning. Also in attendance were Rueben Chinyelu and Andrej Jakimovski, both in the portal.

“They sacrificed for each other. They’re workers, they were grinders, and I can relate to that. They weren’t supposed to be in the position they were this year and they just came in and fought for that,” Riley said. “That’s who I am as a coach, that’s what I am going to do for you guys. I’m excited for the opportunity and can’t wait to get going.”

Riley took a picture holding a jersey with his name on it, and the question-and-answer part of the meeting began.

“My first goal is to retain. I want every single one of these guys back. I don’t have some preconceived idea that I know things differently,” Riley said. “I want these guys because they’re really good. We want guys that want to be here.”

This message and the vocal support of members of the tournament roster usher in a more hopeful outlook for the program. After a week that saw ten Cougs hit the portal and the loss of both the head coach and AD, Riley’s era began with a clear message: the trajectory of the program does not have to change.

After an unprecedented run to the second round of the NCAA tournament, Riley is looking to slot in without altering the course of the team. While some will certainly still transfer, it is clear that the hire has inspired some who otherwise may have left WSU. The next era will begin not with rebuilding but instead with building upon what is there.

Almost a week has gone by, and no major Cougs have declared new locations. While there is still time for those transfers to happen, the future of Cougar basketball still looks brighter than it has in years. Next season, in the WCC, the Cougs should have a chance to get even better, and perhaps get to another tournament.

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About the Contributors
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.
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.