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Originally published Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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Ken Bone is new WSU men's basketball coach

Portland State coach guided Vikings to NCAA tournament past two seasons.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Portland State's Ken Bone, 50, has been named Washington State's 17th men's basketball coach, succeeding Tony Bennett, a university official confirmed today.

Bone's selection concludes a brisk week that began when Bennett left last Monday to take the Virginia job. WSU athletic director Jim Sterk and two associates left at midweek to interview candidates at the Final Four, and then returned home via Seattle to interview Bone and Utah State coach Stew Morrill.

Morrill dropped out Monday morning, and WSU turned to Bone, the former Seattle Pacific head coach and later, assistant to Lorenzo Romar at the University of Washington.

At WSU, Bone will greet the Nos. 3-5-7-8 scorers from this season's team, including two who made the Pac-10 all-freshman team, guard Klay Thompson and forward DeAngelo Casto. The Cougars were 17-16.

One of Bone's first priorities will be to assess four WSU November signees and decide whether the Cougars should try to convince them to honor their letters of intent or release them.

Also at issue is whether Bone will retain any of three remaining coaches from the WSU staff — Ben Johnson, Matt Woodley and Mike Heideman.

Bone comes from a family with deep basketball roots in the Seattle area. His father, Walt Bone, coached at old Queen Anne High and later Nathan Hale, and his older brother, Len, is coach at Snohomish High.

Ken Bone graduated from SPU in 1983 and had a one-year assistant-coaching stint at Shorecrest High. He went on to assist for a year at Cal State-Stanislaus, coached there for a year (1984-85) and had another year as head coach at Olympic Junior College in Bremerton.

Bone then joined Claude Terry's staff at SPU as an assistant for four years, and got the head coaching job there. He had it for 12 years, going 253-97 with six conference titles and eight NCAA Division II tournament appearances.

He moved on to join Romar's Washington staff for three years before he got the Portland State position. He opened with a 12-16 season, but followed that with a 19-13 record and consecutive seasons of 23-10 and NCAA-tournament appearances. The 23 victories mark Portland State's school record.

In 2007-08, PSU won the regular-season Big Sky title and capped it with a conference-tournament victory. This year, the Vikings, after a big upset victory at Gonzaga in December, struggled for part of the conference and surrendered the regular-season title to Weber State.

But after Weber was upset by Montana State on its home court in the league tournament, Bone's Vikings nipped MSU for the title and the automatic NCAA berth. PSU was a No. 13 seed in the tournament, losing a 77-59 decision to Xavier in the first round.

Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or bwithers@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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