By Kevin Sweeney
Seeking a head coach to lead them to the top of the WAC, Seattle has landed a proven winner at the Division 1 level.
The Redhawks will reportedly hire current Eastern Washington head coach Jim Hayford to the same position. Hayford brought EWU to 3 postseason appearances, including one NCAA Tournament, in his 6 year tenure. Hayford also had a highly successful run as the head coach at Division 3 Whitworth.
He replaces Cameron Dollar, who was surprisingly fired earlier this month after 8 seasons in charge. Dollar has since accepted a position on new Washington head coach Mike Hopkins’ staff.
Hayford’s deep ties to the Pacific Northwest make him a perfect fit to fill this vacancy. As Seattle looks to re-establish itself as a Division 1 basketball program, it will be necessary to recruit the Pacific Northwest and specifically the fertile recruiting area that is Seattle. While Hayford’s EWU roster isn’t full of Pacific Northwest products, he has landed a fair amount of products from the region in his time in Cheney. He’s also recruited effectively internationally, with multiple players from Australia and Europe on the roster.
Seattle U will lose two of its top 3 scorers from this past season, but still have a few building blocks for Hayford to build around in promising rising junior center Aaron Menzies and guard Zack Moore. According to verbalcommits.com, Seattle still has 2 vacant scholarships to fill for the upcoming season before any potential departures.
Eastern Washington now faces a coaching search starting fairly late in the process. The obvious candidate would be current associate head coach Shantay Legans, who helped develop former EWU star Tyler Harvey into an NBA prospect.
Legans has been promoted to head coach, according to a release on the team’s Twitter page. It’s his first career head coaching gig.