A new report out of the west coast says that Oregon State University is about to name former University of Montana Grizzlies coach Wayne Tinkle as its new basketball coach in a bid to remake the team into a top contender.
Oregon fired coach Craig Robinson, older brother of the First Lady, on May 5 after a dismal season for the Beavers. The team lost five of its top scorers–some to transfers to other colleges and a few to graduation.
The university appears to be poised to revitalize its program with the high profile hire of a coach who brought his former team to three NCAA tournaments over the past five seasons.
If Tinkle is confirmed, he has a tall job bringing OSU out of a 24-year-long slump of missing then NCAA tournament. But the former Grizzlies coach has an impressive record sure to help reverse that downward trend.
“Tinkle, 48, has led Montana to three NCAA tournament appearances in the past five seasons,” ESPN reported on Monday, “and has a 158-91 mark in eight years at the helm. He played at Montana and professionally overseas.”
If the deal comes to pass as expected, coach Tinkle will join at least two familiar faces already working with the Beavers. Assistant Coach Freddie Owens, who joined the Beavers a year ago, worked for four seasons with coach Tinkle when he helmed the Grizzlies. Also, director of player personnel Joe Kennedy is the son of former Tinkle boss Pat Kennedy whom Tinkle coached under between 2002 and 2004.
“OSU hasn’t reached the NCAA tournament since 1990,” The Oregonian reports, “the second longest March Madness drought of any big-conference mainstay. Tinkle’s predecessor, Craig Robinson, was fired earlier this month after a six-year run included four CBI appearances and no NIT berths. He went 94-105 (39-69 Pac-12) over that span.”
Plans for an exhibition game between Michigan State and Oregon State at the White House were scrapped when Oregon State fired Michelle Obama’s brother.
Coach Tinkle also has an accomplished son, Tres, a skilled high school forward set to graduate next year. Tinkle is a player highly sought after by several Pac-12 schools.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org