Last week, Derrick Phelps announced that he was quitting his job as a WSU assistant coach. At the time, it was speculated that former Saint Mary player Wayne Hunter would take Phelps’ place on the WSU bench. This week, that speculation was confirmed.
Kyle Smith announced Tuesday that Hunter had been hired to be his new assistant coach.
Hunter has close ties to Smith. He played his college basketball career at Saint Mary’s, where Smith was on Gael’s coaching staff. in 2010, as a senior, Hunter helped lead the Gaels to a spot in the Sweet 16, one of three playoff appearances SMC made while Hunter was a player. Hunter began a coaching career and eventually reunited with Smith briefly last season as WSU’s recruiting coordinator. He held that position for just a few months before returning to his alma mater as an assistant coach ahead of the 2021-22 season.
“I had the pleasure of recruiting and coaching Wayne as an assistant,” Kyle Smith said in a university statement. “I am delighted to work with him as a member of our team. Wayne will play an important role in ground training. He will participate in all facets of our program and specialize in working with guards. His familiarity with our coaching style and our analyzes will be essential.
Hunter will replace Derrick Phelps on the WSU coaching staff. Phelps announced last week that he was leaving the post return to the east coast to be closer to his family. Phelps, a Queens native and former North Carolina Tar Heel, followed Smith from San Francisco when he arrived at Pullman in 2019.
Hunter will join associate head coach Jim Shaw, assistant John Andrzejek, recruiting coordinator Derrick Wrobel and director of operators Anthony Lorenzo on the WSU coaching staff. Smith is clearly impressed with Hunter’s skills as a coach, but he says the Northern California native will also play an important role off the court.
“Wayne will also play a key role in recruiting,” Smith added. “He has strong ties out West with a strong connection to the Bay Area. Wayne is a talented assistant with a bright future. We are delighted to have him with us. »
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