Oregon made the firing of basketball coach Ernie Kent official yesterday. Kent was the winningest coach in program history with a 235-173 record since was hired in 1997. Kent was a good coach who did well at a place where it is hard to recruit top basketball talent. He led his team to two elite eight appearances during his tenure at Oregon. If there was any real knock on him it was inability to keep what litte top flight in state talent from attending other schools.
Oregon wil open a fancy new arena next season and you can expect the Ducks to try to make a run at Gonzaga head coach and Eugene native Mark Few to start the search off. Another named mentioned was former Sonic head coach and all around coaching vagabond PJ Carlesimo. Louisville's Rick Pittino is another name I have heard bandied about in the press. The thinking on that one is maybe he wants a fresh start after it became public he has an affair and was then blackmailed.
I think Oregon made a mistake by firing Kent who has been on shaky ground ever since details of his own maritial affair became public a few years back. Kent was first first all an Oregon alum who had played under Dick Harter as one of the infamous Kamikaze Kids. His roots at Oregon are deep just like Washington's Lorenzo Romar's are. It is tough to replicate that type of loyalty and commitment when you are out shopping for a big name.
Anyway it is hard to a believe a guy that took his team to the elite eight twice over the past ten or so years is out on the street looking for a job. If Kent wants to continue coaching he should have no problem finding another job. As for Oregon they shouldn't have too much trouble landing a competent new coach. The new arena will be an attractive recruiting draw and should give the new coach a running start. Too bad they didn't give the guy who got them there a shot at that run.