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Stanford hiring Washington State head coach Kyle Smith ahead of jump to ACC

Kyle Smith will replace Jerod Haase at Stanford next season, the school’s first in the ACC

After leading the Cougars to their best season in recent years, Washington State head coach Kyle Smith is headed to the ACC.

Smith struck a deal to become Stanford’s next head coach on Monday, the school announced. Smith, who was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year this season, will take over for Jerod Haase at Stanford as the program prepares to join the ACC next season. Specifics of his deal are not yet known.

“The opportunity to serve as the head men’s basketball coach at Stanford is a dream come true, and I want to thank Bernard Muir for entrusting me with this opportunity,” Smith said in a statement. “From my perspective, Stanford has the resources and reputation to attract the ideal student-athlete who is seeking the character development aspects of what our basketball program will offer. Stanford has the capacity to provide a place where student-athletes can hone their leadership skills and intellect through hard work and team building. I am thrilled to try to provide that type of culture for an institution that prides itself on excellence in all areas.”

Smith spent the past five seasons at Washington State, and he led the Cougars to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008. They went 25-10 this season and returned to the national rankings for the first time since the Tony Bennett era in Pullman.

The Cougars beat No. 10 Drake in their first NCAA tournament game on Thursday, but were knocked out by No. 2 Iowa State in the second round on Saturday. Smith compiled a 94-71 overall record in his five seasons at Washington State.

Before landing in Pullman, Smith spent three seasons leading San Francisco in the WCC and six seasons at Columbia.

Kyle Smith is fresh off leading Washington State to its first NCAA tournament since 2008 this spring.
Kyle Smith is fresh off leading Washington State to its first NCAA tournament since 2008 this spring. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images) (Michael Reaves via Getty Images)

Stanford split with Haase earlier this season after eight years with the program. The Cardinal managed just two winning seasons under Haase and failed to reach the NCAA tournament once. They went just 14-18 this season and finished ninth in the Pac-12 standings.

While Washington State’s program was in a significantly better place than Stanford’s, the Cougars are one of just two teams in the Pac-12 that didn’t strike a deal to leave the conference later this year. Stanford and Cal are set to join the ACC, while the remaining schools are splitting between the Big Ten and the Big 12.

Washington State and Oregon State reached a settlement over financial distributions with the 10 departing schools on Monday. They will have a scheduling alliance with the Mountain West Conference next season and join as affiliate members in most sports, though the two schools will compete in the WCC in basketball for the next two years.

Smith is now tasked with reviving the Cardinal program that hasn’t seen the NCAA tournament since 2014, when Johnny Dawkins led them to the Sweet 16. That was the school’s only tournament appearance in the last 16 years.