University of Montana first-year head basketball coach Travis DeCuire Thursday named former Washington State University head coach Ken Bone as associate head coach. Bone was fired by Cougars athletic director Bill Moos in March, following Bone’s fifth year at the school, after WSU completed a 10-21 season, including a 3-15 record in Pac-12 play.
“I thought for me and the first time as a head coach, it’s important to have someone on the bench and in the office that had experience with making decisions, and also having a calm mind to weather the storm in big, pressure games,” DeCuire said. “For me it’s important to have someone like Ken Bone, who is very experienced on the bench.”
Bone compiled an 80-86 record with the Cougars, but had the unenviable task of following Tony Bennett, who took Washington State to two NCAA Tournament appearances in his three years in Pullman, including the Sweet Sixteen in 2008, before leaving for Virginia.
“All of his teams have probably over-achieved,” DeCuire said of Bone. “Offensively, when you look at the University of Washington, when they had their success and Sweet Sixteen runs, Ken was a big part of that. They were probably in the top five or six in scoring, and we’re looking at getting to that point in scoring, and 85 or 90 points a game, if possible. So that’s important for us. He had some success at Washington State and his teams were good offensively.”
When Moos fired him, Bone had two years remaining on a seven-year deal. His buyout was $1.7 million.
Prior to his stint at WSU, Bone spent the previous four years as the head coach at Portland State, leading the Vikings to back-to-back NCAA appearances in 2007-08 and 2008-09. He had a record of 77-49 at PSU, and one of the best winning percentages (.611) in school history.
Bone has a record of 361-202 in his 19 years as a head coach, including 12 seasons at his alma mater, Seattle Pacific University. Between his stints at SPU and PSU, he spent the 2002-05 seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Washington under Lorenzo Romar.
A Seattle native, Bone graduated from Seattle Pacific in 1983 and received his master’s in athletic administration in 1993. He played two seasons at SPU.