Can Washington State find another Tony Bennett?

Tony Bennett (left, with father Dick) led Washington State to the Sweet 16 in 2008. AP Photo/Christopher Onstott

It was only a matter of time before Ernie Kent and Washington State went their separate ways. There was talk after last season the Cougars might part ways with Kent, but new athletic director Patrick Chun ended up giving him another year. After Washington State ended yet another below-.500 campaign with a blowout 84-51 loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament on Wednesday, Chun made the call: Kent was out.

So what's next for the Cougars?

Job description

Washington State is a notoriously difficult job, one of the toughest -- if not the toughest -- among the power conference schools. Given its location, on the border of Washington and Idaho, it's a difficult place to find talent and also attract talent. The Cougars haven't landed an ESPN 100 recruit since Klay Thompson and Michael Harthun pledged to the program back in the class of 2008.

The Cougars have made just six NCAA tournament appearances in program history, the most recent ones coming back-to-back in 2007 and 2008 under Tony Bennett. Bennett, who left for Virginia after the 2008-09 season, was also the last coach to lead Washington State to an above .500 Pac-12 campaign. Kent never finished above eighth place in the conference standings.

Like we said, it's a tough gig.

But who might want it?

Home run hires