BREAKING: Leon Rice has exited the interview process with Washington State in favor of taking a pay raise and a five-year rollover to stay at Boise State University.
Source: Boise State's Leon Rice decided to stay, accept pay raise, 5-year rollover instead of continuing talks w/Wazzu after interviewing.
— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) March 29, 2014
Boise State confirms that Leon Rice is staying, as the Press-Tribune and others reported last night. Salary increase to $596,573 next year.
— B.J. Rains (@BJRains) March 29, 2014
Boise State has confirmed that Rice is staying, will receive a $100k extension. Significantly more than BSU writers thought possible.— Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpeSR) March 29, 2014
"We feel the best years of this program are ahead of us and we are very excited Leon will be leading our men’s team," said a Boise State Athletics spokesperson.
Per Jacob Thorpe of the Spokesman-Review Boise State head basketball coach had interviewed with Washington State University about it's open position after former head coach Ken Bone was fired on Mar. 18.
Rice is a Cougar alum and was an assistant on Mark Few's staff at Gonzaga from 1998-2010. With the Broncos Rice has racked up an overall record of 77-54, including four 20-plus win seasons and an NCAA Tournament appearance in the 2012-13 season.
According to Thorpe, during Friday's Board of Regents meetings WSU President Elson Floyd stated that the position had been offered to a candidate, but didn't say whom that was. Also, local media has tried and failed to reach the usually accessible Rice.
Other candidates that have been rumored include former Oregon head coach and current Pac-12 Networks broadcaster Ernie Kent. WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos praised Kent and stated he believes Kent can do all of the things he is searching for in a head coach. "Somebody like Ernie [Kent] that would have a passion for Washington State, like he did for the University of Oregon, would be someone I'd be interested in," Moos said after Bone was fired earlier this month.
Current North Dakota State head coach Saul Phillips put on an impressive show with the Bison--with Coug officials in the audience--as Washington State hosted the second and third rounds of the NCAA Tournament at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Same goes for New Mexico State's Marvin Menzies, who has brought the Aggies to the Tournament in four of the last five seasons, and narrowly lost to No. 4 seed San Diego State this year at the Arena.
Of course this is all speculation as Moos has kept his mouth shut on who is even on his "short list." Though the fact that Rice has reportedly interviewed with the Cougs, is an alum and President Floyd has said an offer has been made... Leon Rice could be the next head coach in Pullman. Later on Friday night Rice opted to stay at BSU after securing a raise and five-year contract rollover clause. So... Who will Moos turn to next?
"Leon Rice is doing a great job at Boise State," Moos said when asked if he had made his short list. "I know that Leon is an alum. He's going to get some looks and he deserves that. He's done a nice job at Boise State and I think he was a big part of the success at Gonzaga."