Weber State basketball coach Randy Rahe retires, handing the reins to his successor

The Big Sky Conference’s all-time winningest coach steps down after 16 seasons, with longtime assistant Eric Duft assuming control immediately.

(Steve Griffin | Tribune file photo). Weber State head coach Randy Rahe listens to Damian Lillard during a game agains BYU in 2011. On Monday, the university announced that Rahe was retiring as the Wildcats' coach.

Randy Rahe, who led the Weber State men’s basketball program to five Big Sky Conference championships and three NCAA Tournament appearances in 16 years at the helm, announced his retirement as head coach Monday.

Eric Duft, who has spent the past 16 years as an assistant under Rahe, takes over as the 10th coach in the Wildcats program’s Division I history.

The 61-year-old Rahe leaves as the school’s and the Big Sky’s all-time leader in coaching wins; after taking over the Wildcats in 2006, he amassed a career record of 316-191.

He was named the Big Sky’s Coach of the Year four times.

“Randy Rahe’s impact and legacy at Weber State and our men’s basketball program cannot be overstated,” Athletics Director Tim Crompton said in a statement. “He has been an outstanding coach and has also impacted the lives of hundreds of young men in a positive manner away from the game of basketball. His passion, dedication, loyalty, and genuineness have made him a pillar in the community. His record speaks for itself and we thank him for his time here and wish him all the best in the next chapter of his life.”

Rahe led Weber State to Big Sky titles in 2007, ‘09, ‘10, ‘14, and ‘16, and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2007, ‘14, and ‘16.

He coached 41 players to all-conference honors, and had six players win Big Sky MVP honors — most notably Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, who was twice named conference MVP and also earned All-American honors in 2012.

Lillard reacted on social media to the coach’s retirement, writing: “Great career! Greatest coach in Big Sky history. Thankful to have been a part of his program ! The most solid [flex emoji].”

He also saw a second player, Joel Bolomboy (Big Sky Player of the Year in 2016), go on to a brief NBA career. Bolomboy was drafted No. 52 overall by the Utah Jazz in 2016, and would appear in 18 total games with the Jazz and Milwaukee Bucks over the next two seasons.

Rahe finishes with a 198-85 record in Big Sky Conference games — the most victories and games in conference history.

He had winning seasons in 14 of his 16 years, and the Wildcats won 20 or more games nine times during his tenure.

Weber State also finished in the top three in the Big Sky standings in 13 of Rahe’s 16 seasons, and advanced to national postseason play nine times.

Rahe was a collegiate hoops coach for more than 35 years, serving as an assistant at Colorado College, Colorado, Denver, Colorado State, Utah State, and Utah, prior to coming to Weber State.

“More than being the winningest coach in Weber State and Big Sky Conference history, Randy Rahe has exemplified running a program with integrity,” Weber State University President Dr. Brad Mortensen said in a statement. “With Coach Rahe at the helm, we have always held our heads high. On behalf of the university, I sincerely want to thank Randy for being a model coach and the contributions he’s made to Wildcat basketball and all of Weber State.”

Duft, meanwhile, was hired by Rahe as an assistant coach in 2006, and was promoted to associate head coach in 2009.

The 49-year-old has been on the Wildcats’ bench for more than 500 games at this point.

Prior to coming to Weber State, he spent 10 years coaching in the junior college ranks in Kansas, including a seven-year stint as an assistant coach at Hutchinson Junior College, whom he helped lead to a top-five ranking in the nation. He also was an assistant coach at Cowley County Community College and Central Community College, and served as the head coach at Central CC in 1997-98.