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MailTribune.com
  • Washington State fires head coach Bone after five seasons

  • Bill Moos saw the losses piling up at the same rate as the apathy was growing among Washington State's fans. It was clear that Ken Bone's time as the men's basketball coach was at an end.
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  • Bill Moos saw the losses piling up at the same rate as the apathy was growing among Washington State's fans. It was clear that Ken Bone's time as the men's basketball coach was at an end.
    "I felt all along that Ken was a good coach and certainly a great guy but it just wasn't working," said Moos, the Cougars' athletic director. "The record reflects that, the attendance at home games reflects that."
    Bone was fired Tuesday morning after five seasons during which he was unable to sustain the success of his predecessor, Tony Bennett.
    Bone was 80-86 in five seasons at Washington State and just 29-61 in the Pac-12. He failed to reach the NCAA tournament during his tenure on the Palouse, which began when Bennett left after the 2009 season to take the top job at Virginia. Bone had taken Portland State to the NCAA tournament the two previous seasons, a goal he was never able to achieve with the Cougars.
    Bone was in the fifth year of a seven-year contract. His buyout included the final two years of his contract worth the remaining $1.7 million. The contracts of Bone's assistants will be honored through the end of June, Moos said.
    Moos came to the realization about two-thirds of the way through the season that replacing Bone would be the likely outcome.
    "We were struggling and the attendance was as low as I've ever seen it, not only here but in any Pac-12 venue," Moos said.
    This year, the Cougars went 10-21 overall and just 3-15 in the league. They lost eight conference games in a row before beating UCLA in the regular-season finale. Attendance at Friel Court and interest in the WSU program has dwindled as the losses piled up. The Cougars averaged just 2,800 fans in 16 home games this season.
    Auburn
    Auburn has hired former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl to revive a struggling basketball program that hasn't been to the NCAA tournament in more than a decade.
    The school announced the hiring on Tuesday of the charismatic coach, who remains under a show-cause penalty from the NCAA into August. Pearl had plenty of success on the court, taking Tennessee to the NCAA tournament in each of his six seasons before getting fired in March 2011 in the wake of an NCAA investigation.
    NCAA spokeswoman Emily James said Auburn has 30 days to file a report to the Committee on Infractions either contesting or accepting the show-cause penalty barring Pearl from recruiting until Aug. 23.
    Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said he believes Pearl "has learned from his mistake." The coach was to be introduced at a news conference at Auburn Arena Tuesday night.
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