PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University’s Board of Regents on Thursday approved spending up to $500,000 through the end of June to help with transition costs associated with the hiring of new men’s basketball coach Kyle Smith.

WSU President Kirk Schulz told Regents transition costs are customary during coaching changes and that he’s working with the University’s donors to secure private contributions as well.

“We’re not just doing it with our own limited resources,” Schulz said during the special meeting of the University’s Board of Regents. “We’re going to be bringing additional dollars to bear to assist with this.”

Smith, the men’s basketball coach at University of San Francisco, was selected to lead the WSU program following a nationwide search. He replaces Ernie Kent.

WSU Athletics Director Pat Chun told Regents that coaching changes typically bring a boost in ticket sales and that his department is launching a dedicated marketing effort to expand the anticipated revenue increase even further.

Ticket sales averaged about 20 percent of capacity this season, bringing in just under $300,000.

“There’s always going to be a natural uptick with new energy and a new coaching staff,” he said. “Even a modest increase in ticket sales … is going to really help mitigate some of these additional costs.”

Regents also were assured that the transition costs won’t impact the current plan to balance the Athletics Department budget.

Under state law, the governing boards of Washington’s public universities must approve any expenditures exceeding $250,000 for intercollegiate athletics that weren’t included in the formally adopted annual budget.


Media Contact:

  • Phil Weiler, vice president for marketing and communication, 509‑335‑1221, phil.weiler@wsu.edu