It almost seemed like a done deal. Ken Bone—men’s basketball coach of the Portland State Vikings, winners of the last two Big Sky Champions and boasters of the most talented roster in the conference—and his family may have already begun packing their belongings from their home in Vancouver for the six-hour drive to Pullman, Wash.
It almost seemed like a done deal.
Ken Bone—men’s basketball coach of the Portland State Vikings, winners of the last two Big Sky Champions and boasters of the most talented roster in the conference—and his family may have already begun packing their belongings from their home in Vancouver for the six-hour drive to Pullman, Wash.
But at some point in the moving process, maybe between explaining to his three adolescent daughters how far away Pullman actually is and packing the framed picture taken after last year’s championship game—the one where he was seen smiling with his players and assistants on the Rose Garden Court after the Vikings earned the school’s first-ever berth in the NCAA Tournament—Bone, or maybe the Bone family, may have a change of heart.
The life of a basketball coach is constantly changing.
Bone, no stranger to changing schools, has had the good fortune of moving around only within the two gem cities of the Northwest, Seattle and now Portland.
He spent years as the head coach at Seattle Pacific before becoming an assistant at Washington.
For the last five years he has roamed the sidelines at the Stott Center and has helped the once-dingy program rise out of obscurity into the national spotlight as one of the finest small-conference basketball programs.
The work to get to this point was certainly challenging.
If you don’t think the Stott Center is that enjoyable of an “arena” try selling a recruit on the 1,500-person dungeon.
Think Portland State is offering the perks, publicity and promising professional future that a larger or more athletically prestigious university can provide? Think again.
All that Portland State seems to lack, all that makes coaching in the South Park Blocks a tremendous challenge, all of those problems would likely be eradicated at Washington State.
But all this doesn’t necessarily lock him down as the next head coach in Pullman.
Ken Bone likely knows better than any fan or journalist how much potential Portland State truly holds.
The man some call bland or uncharismatic knows full well that the team he is slated to coach next season is going to be supremely talented, perhaps even more than this season, and should have a terrific opportunity to make their third consecutive trip to the tournament.
Here in the South Park Blocks, Bone, the longest tenured coach on campus, is a media darling and doesn’t have to live up to the intense scrutiny and pressure that a Pac-10 job would bring.
The promise of a renovated Stott Center will certainly throw some weight back toward the Rose City. Bone could coach his tail off in Pullman, Wash., and never make the NCAA Tournament in a deep and better-funded Pac-10 Conference.
Think getting recruits (and transfers) to Portland was tough? Try Pullman.
Portland State offers young basketball players that are overlooked by prominent Division I schools the opportunity to actually make it to the NCAA Tournament, something that Washington State has only accomplished twice in the last 15 years.
That’s as frequent, or infrequent, as Portland State, and the Vikings basketball program was just reinstated in 1996.
Bone may dabble with some form of frivolous discussions with the wisemen from the Palouse.
But in the end hopefully he will remember staying in Portland and further working his way toward the heroic status that he is approaching is a far better option than trying to earn victories in the rolling pastures of eastern Washington.