LAS VEGAS — The silence was deafening in the Washington State locker room Wednesday evening, but Bill Moos was even quieter.
The Washington State athletic director, who said last month that he was not certain Bone would be retained after this season, did not respond to email requests Wednesday and Thursday for an update on Bone’s status.
The Cougars finished with a 13-19 record after dropping a 64-62 decision to Washington late Wednesday in the opening round of the Pacific-12 Conference tournament. WSU played listlessly and often poorly most of the game, falling behind by 19 early in the second half before rallying dramatically to forge a 62-62 tie.
Asked after the game, if he was concerned about his job, Bone managed to laugh while saying, “Not right now.”
What about on Thursday?
“I’m just not too concerned,” he said. “I’m just not too concerned about that.
“I think we’ve done a good job. Decisions will be made, whether it’s this year, or next year or the following year.
“It’s out of my control, so I’m not going to worry about things outside of my control.”
Considering all the rumors about Bone’s job status, it may speak volumes that he said Moos has not set a date to talk with him.
“I haven’t been calling Bill and he hasn’t called me,” Bone said.
Bone, who owns a 70-65 record (.519) in four seasons at WSU, has guided the Cougars to three winning seasons and two post-season tournaments. The Cougars finished last in the conference for the second time under Bone; his league record is 26-46 (.361); and his 0-4 record at the conference tournament is tied for the worst ever.
Moos has always maintained that he makes decisions on firing or keeping coaches after the season. However, Moos so commonly gushes publicly about other coaches during the season that it’s obvious they are in no danger of losing their job.
Moos’ wealth of connections nationwide make it difficult to predict who he might tab to replace Bone if a change is made. Moos has said that the $2.55 million remaining on Bone’s contract ($850,000 each for the next three seasons) would not be the sole factor in determining the basketball coach’s future.
If Bone is replaced, names that might pop up include the likes of Long Beach State coach Dan Monson, who guided Gonzaga to its only Elite Eight finish in the NCAA tournament; former Gonzaga assistant Leon Rice, a WSU graduate who is the coach at Boise State; Ernie Kent, who coached Oregon when Moos was AD for the Ducks; and current Gonzaga assistants Tommy Lloyd and Ray Giacoletti.
Monson, the son of former Idaho and Oregon coach Don Monson, attended Moscow High School and the University of Idaho. That community is just across the state line from Pullman.
Rice, who has revived the Boise State program, grew up in the Tri-Cities. He enjoyed great success as a head coach at Yakima Valley College, a junior college.
Kent, currently working as a college basketball television broadcaster, guided Oregon to the NCAA tournament five times in 13 seasons with the Ducks.
Lloyd, the lead recruiter of such current and former Gonzaga stars as Kelly Olynyk, Ronny Turiaf, Elias Harris and Kevin Pangos, has been promised he will be the head coach of the Bulldogs if Mark Few ever leaves.
Giacoletti, a former Washington assistant, has head coaching experience at North Dakota State, Eastern Washington and Utah. He was a finalist for the Illinois State job last year.