The Pac-12 saw one of its former Montana coaches retire, but the conference is expected to gain another. And he'll be a former protege of Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak.
A report from The Oregonian indicates that Oregon State is preparing to announce Montana coach Wayne Tinkle as its new men's basketball head coach on Monday. Over eight years, Tinkle has taken the Grizzlies to the NCAA Tournament three times, somewhat notoriously getting the best of Damian Lillard's teams at Weber State.
Here's an excerpt from The Oregonian story offering some context to the situation Tinkle inherits from Craig Robinson:
Tinkle won't walk into a completely foreign situation in Corvallis. Beavers assistant Freddie Owens spent four seasons under Tinkle before joining OSU last June. And director of player personnel Joe Kennedy, who joined the Beavers in August, is the son of former Tinkle boss Pat Kennedy. Tinkle coached under Kennedy at Montana from 2002 to 2004.
Tinkle takes over a program headed toward a rebuild. The Beavers have lost their five top scorers from a team that went 16-16 (8-10 Pac-12) and fell in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational.
Tinkle's predecessor at Montana? Krystkowiak.
Before Coach K came to Salt Lake City, and before a rocky tenure in the NBA, he was the head coach in Missoula, and Tinkle was his assistant. Their roots go back even further, as both played at Montana, and were teammates from 1984-86. On Tinkle's online profile at Montana, Krystkowiak is described as his "mentor."
There's another bit of a twist for Utah recruiting. The Utes were early to offer Tinkle's son, small forward Tres Tinkle. The class of 2015 recruit is rated as a four-star player by ESPN, but his father's hiring at a Pac-12 program may clear the road for him to go to Oregon State.
It's always tough to face a former assistant, much less a former teammate. Let the storylines start rolling out when the Beavers and the Utes prepare to face off next season.
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