WSU announces contract extension for Kyle Smith
PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University Director of Athletics Pat Chun announced Thursday that men’s head basketball coach Kyle Smith had agreed to a contract extension. Smith’s extension will keep him on the Palouse through the 2026-27 season. Smith was named the head coach of the Cougs in 2019 and originally signed a six-year contract that ran through the 2024-25 campaign.
“The rebirth in our men’s basketball program since Kyle arrived two years ago has been remarkable,” said Chun. “Kyle’s ability to attract and develop top talent has revitalized not only our men’s basketball program, but our fan base as well. The future of Cougar basketball is in good hands under Kyle’s leadership and we are excited he will be a Cougar for many years to come.”
In his first two seasons at WSU, Smith has rebuilt the Cougars in his image, establishing themselves as an up-and-coming force in the Pac-12 Conference. With the Cougs play, Smith put himself in rarified air at WSU as he has finished his first two seasons on the Palouse at .500 or better joining Tony Bennett as the only Coug head coaches to post .500 or better records in their first two seasons after taking over a sub-.500 club.
Last season, the Cougs posted a 14-13 record on the court producing the first winning season for WSU since the 2011-12 campaign. Each win was hard-fought for the Cougs as WSU defeated five NCAA tournament teams including wins over UCLA, which reached the 2021 NCAA Championship game, and Oregon and Oregon State, which each made the Sweet Sixteen.
“In our first two seasons we feel we have planted the seeds for a successful basketball program,” said Smith. “It is nice to know that we have been given a vote of confidence with the support from our Athletic Director, Pat Chun, our President, Kirk Schulz, and the entire Pullman Community.
“None of this would have been possible without the hard work and persistence of my tireless staff,” Smith continued. “I am forever grateful for their loyalty and hard work. I speak for everyone when I say that we are ecstatic to have the opportunity to see it through. Go Cougs!!”
In his brief tenure, Smith has already put together a long list of signature wins that include becoming the first Cougar head coach to lead his team to a win over Oregon at Matthew Knight Arena last season. The win over the Ducks was the second big win for Smith and the Cougs in two years as WSU downed No. 8 Oregon, Jan. 16, 2020, at Pullman, 72-61, the year prior. The victory marked WSU’s first win over a top-10 opponent in over a decade. Additionally, the Cougs rolled into the 2020 Pac-12 Tournament and defeated Colorado for their first tournament victory since 2009 while becoming the first 11-seed to win an opening tournament game.
On the recruiting trail, Smith and his staff have put together a pair of top 60 ranked recruiting classes, the highest-ranked classes for WSU in over a decade. He has also led the Cougars to three wins in four meetings against cross-state rival Washington, becoming just the fourth coach at WSU to sweep UW in his first season on the Palouse.
Smith was named the head coach of WSU men’s basketball on March 27, 2019. He arrived in Pullman following three seasons as the head coach at the University of San Francisco, where he compiled a 63-40 (.612) record, notching 20 or more wins each season and two postseason tournament appearances.
Washington State Athletics