Washington State University has appointed David Riley as its new basketball coach, luring him away from his previous position at Eastern Washington University

Washington State University made a significant coaching move on Tuesday, announcing the hiring of David Riley as its new basketball coach. Riley, a two-time Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year, is leaving his successful tenure at Eastern Washington University to take on this new challenge.

Riley’s arrival comes at a pivotal moment for the Washington State basketball program. While the team recently made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 16 years, the Cougars face uncertainty following the upheaval in the Pac-12 Conference. Additionally, key players have entered the transfer portal, adding to the challenges facing Riley as he steps into his new role.

Replacing former coach Kyle Smith, who departed for Stanford after the Cougars’ NCAA Tournament exit, Riley brings a wealth of coaching experience and success. At Eastern Washington, he amassed an impressive record of 62-30 over three seasons, securing consecutive Big Sky regular-season titles along the way.

In announcing Riley’s appointment, Washington State interim athletic director Anne McCoy highlighted his coaching acumen and ability to cultivate a winning culture. Riley’s emphasis on player development and his dynamic offensive approach were key factors in his selection.

Initially, Washington State pursued Montana State’s Matt Logie for the coaching position, but after Logie’s decision to remain with the Bobcats, Riley emerged as the clear choice despite his relatively young age. With a background that includes collegiate playing experience and years of coaching at Eastern Washington, Riley is well-prepared to lead the Cougars.

While Riley views the Washington State job as a dream opportunity, there are concerns about the program’s future, including conference affiliation uncertainties and the recent departure of athletic director Pat Chun. Nonetheless, Riley expressed excitement about building on the foundation already in place and is eager to recruit and retain student-athletes who embrace the unique atmosphere of the Palouse.

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