Seventy-eight days have passed since Oregon State relieved head basketball coach Jay John of his coaching duties on Jan. 20. And the search to find John’s replacement reached far and wide, identifying about a half dozen candidates that spanned as south as San Diego and as east as Rhode Island. Monday brought an end to the extensive nationwide search, as Oregon State athletic director Bob De Carolis announced Craig Robinson, formerly of Brown University, as the Beavers new head coach.
Seventy-eight days have passed since Oregon State relieved head basketball coach Jay John of his coaching duties on Jan. 20. And the search to find John’s replacement reached far and wide, identifying about a half dozen candidates that spanned as south as San Diego and as east as Rhode Island.
Monday brought an end to the extensive nationwide search, as Oregon State athletic director Bob De Carolis announced Craig Robinson, formerly of Brown University, as the Beavers new head coach.
Robinson coached Brown to a 19-win season this past season and becomes the 20th men’s head basketball coach in Oregon State history. The Beavers are coming off a finish in the Pac-10 cellar, compiling a 6-25 record and sputtering to a dismal 0-19 record against conference foes.
“This is truly a great opportunity. Not just for me and my family, and for these guys here, but for the entire Oregon State community,” Robinson said at the press conference naming him head basketball coach Monday. “This is a rich basketball history, and I can’t wait to get back to where we were.”
While Robinson, plucked from over 3,000 miles away in Providence, R.I., was being sworn in as the Beavers new head coach Monday, the man who was believed to be the No. 1 candidate for the job just as recently as a few days ago, was roaming around Portland’s South Park Blocks, a mere 80 miles from the Oregon State campus.
Many deemed the Portland State head basketball coach Ken Bone as the Beavers’ top candidate following the declines of San Diego’s Billy Grier and St. Mary’s Randy Bennett to accept Oregon State’s coaching position.
“Once they didn’t hire those two, they really opened it up and talked to a few people and I was just one of them,” Bone said of Grier and Bennett passing up on the job.
Bone, who has coached the Vikings for the past three years, was thought to be a desirable candidate because of his Northwest roots, experience at Portland State, Seattle Pacific and Washington, and success at each coaching stop.
“I am very content with where I am at,” Bone said Monday. “I am excited about the future of Portland State basketball.”
For weeks, Viking fans waited in anticipation for the announcement of Oregon State’s next head coach, thinking Bone maybe the apple of the Beavers’ eye. Bone said he never pursued the Oregon State position, and was instead contacted by members of the Beavers search committee. While at the Final Four in San Antonio this past weekend, Bone said he interviewed with Oregon State for several hours.
As Robinson was shaking hands with De Carolis, meeting the media and being introduced to his new players today, the anxious feelings plaguing Portland State fans should have all but dissipated because it appears Bone is staying put in the Rose City.
“We feel relieved,” Portland State athletic director Torre Chisholm said after discovering Bone would remain a Viking. “And we are happy to have a chance to continue something we already started.”
Under Bone’s leadership, the Vikings enjoyed their most historic campaign to date this past season. Portland State finished the season with the school’s first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament after claiming the Big Sky Championship, a school-record 23 wins, a nine-game winning streak and Bone was the first Vikings coach to be named conference coach of the year.
With Bone returning for next season, the Vikings should be the odds-on favorite to be crowned Big Sky champions for the second consecutive season.
Important returning players include reigning Big Sky Player of the Year junior point guard Jeremiah Dominguez, sophomore forward Kyle Coston, junior guard Andre Murray, and sophomore forwards Julius Thomas and Alex Tiefenthaler.
A few red shirt players should also make an impact come next season, with the addition of heralded sophomore forward Phil Nelson, a transfer from Washington, McNary High School graduate junior guard Dominic Waters and 6-foot-7 junior forward Jamie Jones.
Bone said in order for the Vikings to replicate the success they had last season, his team must prepare during the spring and summer better than previous years. The Vikings will step back on the practice floor to begin those preparations for fall on Wednesday.
“I’m happy where I’m at, but if something really good came along, or was potentially really good, I would listen,” Bone said.