Leon Rice, Boise State basketball coach, interviewed for the vacant Washington State head coaching job, and WSU president Elson Floyd told the school’s Board of Regents Friday that an offer has been made to a candidate, Sportspressnw.com has learned.
Floyd did not name the candidate. A source with ties to WSU told Sportspressnw.com that Rice interviewed with athletic director Bill Moos recently. The source asked to remain anonymous.
Rice, a WSU graduate and Richland native, developed a reputation as a big-time recruiter when he was an assistant coach at Gonzaga. He has added to that reputation while guiding Boise State to 20-win seasons in three of his four seasons with the Broncos.
Moos has stressed the need for WSU’s next coach to be a strong recruiter. Ken Bone, fired last week after five years with the Cougars, struggled with recruiting.
Rice, who did not play sports at Washington State (he played football at Spokane Falls Community College before transferring), has a far more gregarious personality than Bone. Attendance at WSU has plummeted under Bone, and Moos is eager to boost the gate.
Moos has predicted the Cougars could lose a school-record $10 million or more this fiscal year, largely due to facility improvements.
Moos has repeatedly declined to name candidates for the coaching job. Rice, who is known for being extremely cooperative with the media, has not replied to numerous media requests for interviews.
Rice made $480,000 this season at Boise State. He is due a three percent increase next season. Moos has indicated he would be willing to pay WSU’s new coach $1 million or more. Moos was highly complimentary of Rice during an interview last week.
Boise State finished 21-13 this season. Rice, citing the team’s long list of injuries during the season, chose not to play in minor post-season tournaments after being turned down by the NIT following Boise State’s loss to eventual champion New Mexico in the semifinals of the Mountain West Conference tournament.