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

Kamie Ethridge signs contract extension through 2029–30 season

WSU women’s basketball coach has seen WSU to a program-record four-straight postseasons
Kamie Ethridge points to the crowd after the Cougs took down Toledo in the third round of the WBIT, March 29, in Pullman, Wash.

Weeks after WSU lost its men’s basketball coach and athletic director, the Cougs retained women’s basketball coach Kamie Ethridge.

Ethridge signed a one-year contract extension through 2029–30 season. It marks her third-straight WSU contract extension after signing in October 2022 and May 2023.

“I want to thank Anne McCoy and President Kirk Schulz for their continued support and passionate commitment to Washington State women’s basketball,” Ethridge said in a statement. “I am honored to have my contract extended another year. I look forward to continuing to elevate the standard of national success, attention, and relevance we have established in the women’s basketball landscape.”

Under Ethridge’s leadership, WSU has recruited program legends Charlisse Leger-Walker and Bella Murekatete along with team leaders Krystal Leger-Walker, Ula Motuga and Astera Tuhina.

WSU won four games in five days to win the 2023 Pac-12 Tournament Championship, the first Conference crown for any women’s sport in school history.

The Cougs have also been frequent dancers, earning three straight NCAA Tournament berths (‘21, ‘22, ‘23) and advancing to the semifinals of the inaugural Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament in 2024.

Prior to Ethridge’s tenure, WSU had only qualified for one NCAA Tournament (1991) and had two winning seasons in the 22-year period prior to her hiring in 2018.

Ethridge’s coaching success (with two-straight 20-win seasons at WSU) after three 20-win seasons and an NCAA Tournament berth at her former job at Northern Colorado is just part of her story.

Ethridge, a 2002 Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer, never lost a Conference game while playing four years at Unversity of Texas. As a key member of the Texas Longhorns’ 1986 NCAA Championship team, she received the 1986 Wade Trophy, awarded to the best women’s basketball player in the country and the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, which recognizes the most outstanding NCAA Division I female basketball player under 5-foot-8. 

“Kamie epitomizes hard work, dedication and perseverance, all traits that served her well as a Hall of Fame player and now coaching our student-athletes,” Schulz said. “Noel and I have revered Kamie’s ability to lead young women for more than a decade at two different universities, and we are so pleased knowing she is committed to guiding our Cougar women’s basketball program.”

Ethridge was one of AD Pat Chun’s first hires in 2018. Chun left WSU to become University of Washington’s AD days after men’s basketball coach Kyle Smith accepted the Stanford job in late March.

After an upcoming seventh year on the Palouse, Ethridge’s WSU tenure will be longer than her former boss’s.

Interim AD Anne McCoy, who has worked at WSU in some capacity since 2001, oversaw Ethridge’s extension.

“Her leadership has resulted in historic seasons for WSU, including this most recent campaign when WSU reached the postseason for the fourth-consecutive year, marking another program first. We are thrilled Kamie shares the same love and passion for Washington State that so many of us do and excited she will be leading our program for many years to come,” McCoy said.

In a period where WSU faces the harsh realities of conference realignment, Ethridge, entering her seventh year, is one of the longest-tenured coaches at WSU, behind 22nd-year rowing coach Jane LaRiviere, ninth-year soccer coach Todd Shulenberger, ninth-year track and field and cross country coach Wayne Phipps, and ninth-year men’s golf coach Dustin White. The seven other programs on the Palouse are led by coaches hired after Ethridge.

The Cougs were on track for a fourth consecutive March Madness bid before Charlisse suffered a senior season and likely WSU-career-ending ACL injury in the third quarter of WSU’s 85-82 upset of then-No. 2 UCLA in Pauley Pavilion Jan. 28. Without their star senior, the Cougs struggled finishing the regular season 3-7 and losing to Cal in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament.

WSU was left out of March Madness but did receive the No. 1 seed in the inaugural WBIT, winning three straight home games and losing to eventual champion Illinois in the semifinals at the Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Charlisse entered the transfer portal April 2 and shared a farewell message on her social media, making her return to WSU, Ethridge or not, unlikely.

Leger-Walker has pro aspirations and intended to help New Zealand reach the country’s first Olympic games since 2008 before her injury. However, she did not declare for the 2024 WNBA Draft.

Ethridge returns to WSU as the Cougs prepare to play in the West Coast Conference for the next two years. With 10 Pac-12 Conference schools heading separate ways, Ethirdge joins a WCC which includes reigning Sweet 16 participants Gonzaga and Oregon State, a fellow disenfranchised Pac-12 school.

Fifth-year starters Murekatete and Beyonce Bea cannot return to the program and Charlisse remains in the transfer portal, meaning Ethridge will need to replace three starters. Ethridge has remained an effective recruiter, especially of international athletes such as All-Pac-12 Freshmen Tuhina and Eleonora Villa who have stepped into key starting roles with towering 3-pointers and excellent ball handling.

“WSU’s leadership team and I share a mutual commitment to excellence,” Ethridge said. “Establishing WSU as a perennial top-20 program, competing for Conference championships, advancing to the NCAA Tournament, and positioning our program to compete in Sweet 16’s and beyond will continue as the goals and standards for our program.

Ethridge said WSU women’s basketball needs the support of a “committed network of donors.”

“My most sincere thanks go to each of our donors! To every one of you who has assisted us financially so that we might grow our program and address our needs, my appreciation is without measure,” Ethridge said. “I hope you will reach out to me as I look forward to meeting you personally and talking specifically about my vision and the needs of Cougar women’s basketball. It is a great day to be a Coug! Let’s all work together and make some noise.”

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About the Contributors
SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor
Sam is a senior multimedia journalism major from Lacey, Washington and the sports editor for spring 2024. He was the sports editor for the 2022-23 school year and managing editor for the summer and fall 2023. He plays the trumpet in the Cougar Marching Band, loves sports and has worked at the Evergreen since fall 2021.
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.