EWU Nabs Jim Hayford Away From Whitworth - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Eastern Washington Basketball

EWU Nabs Jim Hayford Away From Whitworth

Jim Hayford put on the hat for Eastern Washington on Tuesday during a news conference at the Spokane Club in downtown Spokane (Photo: SWX) Jim Hayford put on the hat for Eastern Washington on Tuesday during a news conference at the Spokane Club in downtown Spokane (Photo: SWX)

Hayford vows to compete for Big Sky Championships

Speaking in front of smiling supporters at the Spokane Club in downtown Spokane on Tuesday, Eastern Washington University officially introduced Jim Hayford as the new coach of the Eagles.

The news conference was carried live on SWX and SWXRightNow.com.

Hayford comes to EWU after coaching D-III Whitworth through eight 20-win seasons, six appearances in the NCAA D-III Tournament and five Northwest Conference titles. As coach of the Pirates, he had a career record of 217-57 – winning nearly 80 percent of his games.

"I have a vision for Eastern Washington University basketball," said Hayford, who has never had a losing season as a head coach. "You need to be good at whatever it is that you do. We're going to be good on the court. We are going to compete for Big Sky championships."

With a new coach comes a new beginning for a program that's struggled since the departure of Ray Giaccoleti several years ago. The team never found the same success with Kirk Earlywine, who was let go after four seasons in Cheney. Hayford, who said he had his new team over for dinner Monday night, hopes to turn things around. And he's not just talking about basketball.

"I want Eastern Washington basketball to be a meeting place for the community," he said. "I want to make it a place where students on campus want to come and cheer their fellow students on. I want it to be a place where the local community – both in Cheney and Spokane, and throughout the region – can come be at games at Eastern Washington and enjoy the experience with us."

He expects to build support by promoting the "Sixth Man" idea that has supported Whitworth over the years. He, as the coach, won't be shy in people for their time as fans, and their money as supporters. Hayford even joked to those in the room that he knew their names and phone numbers, and he'll be asking them for their support.

"He's committed to student athletes, he's committed to the development of student athletes, and that's so incredibly important for us," said Athletic Director Bill Chaves. "And the other piece of the puzzle he brings is his community outreach."

Hayford said he received 47 resumes via email on Monday from people wanting to work with him at Eastern. He expects to fill all the open positions over the next week to 10 days. He didn't offer any hints about who might join him in Cheney.

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