Cougars Highlights

NCAA Division: Division I

Conference: Pac-12

Past Conferences:  Pac-10, Pac-8, AAWU, PCC, Ind

City: Pullman, Washington

Stadium: Beasley Coliseum

NCAA Tournaments: 1941, 1980, 1983, 1994, 2007, 2008



         National Championships: 0

       Conference Titles: 2


Team History


The Washington State Cougars men’s basketball team has experienced solid peaks and lows. The program commenced as a varsity collegiate team during the 1901-02 season. Things would pick up for the program when the school joined the Pacific Coast Conference.


Helms Athletic Foundation and Premo-Porretta Power Poll retroactively awarded the Cougars the 1917 National Championship. As member of the PCC, the teams that represented the program had solid records.

The program would only qualify for the NCAA Tournament during Jack Friel’s tenure, despite him being the winningest coach in school history. It was therefore hard to say that the odds weren’t in their favor since they were so close to winning the ultimate prize.


The team finished the regular season with a 26-6 record and made it to the National Championship game. They would lose to the Wisconsin Badgers by five. The Cougars would get their second shot on the biggest stage nearly four decades later. During that span, the game would go through some drastic changes and major conference shifts.


Terrible Decade in the 90s

Except for a terrible decade in the 1990s, the Cougars would have been solid contenders in the Pac-10. This was a huge upset for the Cougars in the 1980 season, when they lost in the opening round to the Pennsylvania Quakers. In 1983, the men’s basketball team would get past the Weber State Wildcats before falling to the Virginia Cavaliers in the next round.


Their goal to make a run in the 1994 NCAA Tournament would end quickly, since they would lose to the College Eagles in the first round. During coach Tony Bennett’s last few years with the program, the school would achieve its highest tournament seedings while being ranked in the Top 25.


In 2007, the team made a huge jump from an 11-17 record to a 26-8 record; the Washington team stats showed their composure to fight under pressure. They would cruise past the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles before losing in a heartbreaker to the Vanderbilt Commodores, in double overtime.


As the recent numbers show, their 2008 season would be the best in the last 15 years. A fourth-seed in the Eastern Region, the team would make it to the Sweet 16 in dominating fashion by crushing the Winthrop Eagles and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Unfortunately, their dominance would fade as the North Carolina Tar Heels offense was too much to handle.


Kyle Smith will enter his third season as head coach for the men’s basketball team. Although the team has shown some success in the past, this season will be tough, with the Cougars facing some long NCAAB odds.


All-Time Records

  • Points Scored

    • Isaac Fontaine 2,003

    • Steve Puidokas 1,894

    • Klay Thompson 1,756


  • Rebounds

    • Josh Hawkinson 1,015

    • Steve Puidokas 992

    • Mark Hendrickson 927


  • Assists

    • Bennie Seltzer  473

    • Kyle Weaver 465

    • Keith Morrison 456


  • Steals

    • Don Collins 204

    • Keith Morrison 191

    • Kyle Weaver 188




  1. What Is the Highest Win Total in Program History?


The record of 26 wins a season is seemingly the number to beat for the program; the men’s basketball team would achieve this feat three times over its history. One of the runs would almost lead to a National Championship, with the team as runners-up.


  1. Who Is the Winningest Coach in Program History?


Jack Friel is the winningest coach in the program’s history, with a record of 495-377 during his 30-year tenure. No other coach has nearly half as many wins as Friel; for example, J. Fred Bohler is in second place with 226 wins.


  1. Who Is the Greatest Player in Program History?

Klay Thompson is the best player to play from the Washington State Cougars’ program; he was selected 11th overall by the Golden State Warriors. As one of the Splash Brothers, Thompson has become a key piece during the Warriors’ title runs because he is a four-time NBA champ. Thompson’s stats have gone down because he’s still recovering from the injury.

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