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WSU hires Eastern Washington’s Riley as men’s basketball coach

35-year-old coached Eagles to back-to-back Big Sky titles

By TIM BOOTH, Associated Press
Published: April 2, 2024, 9:04pm

Washington State hired David Riley as its basketball coach on Tuesday, nabbing the two-time Big Sky Conference coach of the year at a time of uncertainty for the Cougars.

Riley will move down the Palouse highway after three successful seasons as the coach at Eastern Washington. He’ll take over a Washington State program coming off its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 16 years, but with significant questions after the collapse of the Pac-12 Conference. The Cougars will play the next two years as affiliate members of the West Coast Conference, but have already seen key players enter the transfer portal.

Riley replaces Kyle Smith, who spent five years in Pullman before taking the head job at Stanford after the Cougars were eliminated in the second round of the NCAA Tournament by Iowa State.

The 35-year-old Riley was 62-30 in his three seasons at Eastern Washington, including consecutive Big Sky regular-season titles. He agreed to a six-year contract with Washington State.

“Throughout the process, Dave’s coaching acumen was evident as was his ability to create a winning culture. 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,” Washington State interim athletic director Anne McCoy said.