Cougars athletic director Bill Moos informed Ken Bone he will be back for a fifth season.
In case there was lingering doubt, Washington State basketball coach Ken Bone got the word this week from athletic director Bill Moos that he’s returning for a fifth season.
It might not have come without strings attached.
“We need to get better,” said Bone on a season-ending teleconference with reporters Thursday. “Four-and-14 is unacceptable for (Moos), for (president Elson Floyd), myself, for the players. We need to get better.”
The Cougars went 4-14 in Pac-12 games, 13-19 overall, giving Bone a record of 26-46 in conference games and 70-65 overall. He said Moos didn’t lay out any specific threshold for next season, but it’s clear WSU has to make significant strides, having finished last in the league twice in Bone’s regime.
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Moos confirmed that he didn’t hold Bone to a specified standard for winning next year, saying: “I don’t like to do that. I’ll establish the bar in my judgment and not some selection committee.”
Moos says he liked the way the Cougars competed this season and wants to give Bone a chance to coach the additional pieces coming to the roster.
“He knows, and all my people know, we’re not going to be hanging around at the bottom of the league,” Moos said. “We’ve got to be moving this thing forward.”
If Moos was inclined to consider a change this season, he was hamstrung by the fact Bone’s buyout would have been $2.55 million, because he was originally signed to a seven-year contract by former AD Jim Sterk.
“I like the fact we have a good foundation, which sounds strange going into a fifth year,” Bone said. “There’s times when you have to take a step back to go forward, and I think that’s what we’ve done.”
Bone has said previously he felt he had to rid the program of a marijuana problem two years ago, after three players — including Reggie Moore, whom he eventually dismissed last fall — were cited for violations.
Without Moore, the 2012-13 Cougars were turnover-prone and lost eight games by five points or fewer. They are losing their Nos. 1 and 3 scorers — Brock Motum (18.7) and Mike Ladd (10.5) — but the rest of the roster should return.
Bone is counting on a boost from combo-guard recruit Ike Iroegbu, plus two players sitting out — wing DeMarquise Johnson and center Jordan Railey.
Former Jackson High standout and ex-Oregon guard Brett Kingma has been in the program as a walk-on, and Bone said he couldn’t clarify that status before talks with individual players.
Asked how he views the challenge of winning at WSU now compared to when he took the job, Bone said, “We had some issues a couple of years ago, and unfortunately, that set us back.” He added he feels “very good” about the recovery from that.
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or email@example.com