It happens every year. Utah State wins 25 games (or thereabouts) and basketball coach Stew Morrill’s name is mentioned with a variety of coaching openings at schools in big-time conferences hoping to capture some of what’s going on in Logan.
This year, Morrill is being talked about as the next coach at Washington State.
Most years, those rumored job offers are just that, rumors.
But the opening at Wazzu is one that could interest Morrill more than others he’ been associated with in the past.
Despite being in the Pac 10, Washington State is much like Utah State in that there is not a huge media presence. USU is in the shadow of Utah and BYU and WSU is in the shadow of Gonzaga and Washington. At the same time, both programs have reasonable chances for success and there are tradition and resources in place to help that happen.
A source close to the USU office I spoke with today said Washington State has not asked USU for permission to talk with Morrill about the opening. That, of course, does not mean talks are not happening in an unofficial manner.
Morrill, as he has done several times, signed a contract extension after the 2007-08 season finished and before the 08-09 season began.
According to the source, that new contract includes a significantly increased buyout.
A source in Washington told me the WSU AD is in Detroit for the Final Four. The source at USU, however, said Morrill did not make the trip to Michigan for the national championship weekend.
Talks between Washington State and Morrill, if they are happening, may very well be going on between agents and lawyers and not in a face-to-face manner.
Washington State is said to be in a hurry to fill to position created when Tony Bennett left to accept the Virginia job.
Other names floating around include Portland State coach Ken Bone and former Indiana coach Mike Davis.