Reports: San Francisco’s Kyle Smith expected to be named men’s basketball head coach

DYLAN GREENE, Evergreen deputy sports editor

University of San Francisco’s Kyle Smith is expected to be named the next WSU men’s basketball head coach, according to CBS Sports.

Smith has coached the Dons for the past three seasons and lead them to 20 or more wins each year including a 21-10 record in 2018-19.

The head coaching position became vacant when the Cougars fired Ernie Kent on Mar. 14, a day after WSU lost to Oregon by a Pac-12 Tournament record 33 points.

Kent coached the team for the past five years and compiled an overall record of 58-98. The Cougars never finished above .500 in any of their seasons under Kent and the team never got past the first round of the Pac-12 tourney.

Kent will still be paid $4.2 million over the next three years per the terms of his contract with WSU.

Klay Thompson, former WSU men’s basketball player and current guard on the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, pointed to Smith as a potential candidate for the Cougars head coaching job during an interview last Thursday.

“I’d recommend [Smith] for an interview,” Thompson said. “Every program he has been at he’s turned around. USF was really good this year, they beat some Pac-12 schools so he’d be a great candidate.”

Prior to coaching at San Francisco, Smith compiled a 101-82 overall record in six seasons at Columbia. His 101 victories in a six-year span were the most by the program since the team secured 107 wins from 1965-71.