Oregon’s Kent won’t comment on status
Oregon coach Ernie Kent would not comment about a report Saturday
night that he has already been fired before his 13th season with
the Ducks ended.
With 12 minutes remaining in the Ducks’ 74-66 win over
Washington State in the final Pacific-10 Conference game at
McArthur Court, Eugene’s KVAL-TV reported that Oregon athletic
director Mike Bellotti told Kent he would not return as coach next
season on Feb. 22.
Bellotti said he would make his decision on Kent’s status
“around the (Pac-10) tournament,” which begins Wednesday in Los
“I have no comment about that,” Bellotti said as he left the
building Saturday night. “Ernie and I have talked and we will
continue to talk and that’s it.”
Kent, who played at Oregon from 1973-77, deflected questions
about his reported firing following the game. He repeatedly changed
the subject toward his seniors and his former coach Dick Harter,
who was honored before Thursday’s game.
“I have an ability to drown out noise,” Kent said. “I’ve not
heard of no report. I’m talking about Tajuan Porter and Dick
Harter. I don’t know why you guys won’t listen to me on that
because it’s their week and their day.”
Kent, 55, has led the Ducks to a school-best 234-172 record,
and he is the longest tenured Pac-10 coach. He has taken Oregon to
the NCAA tournament five times, but the team has finished in 10th
and ninth place, respectively, over the last two seasons.
“He’s been going through that his whole career so we support
him,” said Porter, a senior. “Hopefully they bring him back because
I think he deserves to coach at least one more year in the new
arena. We love him to death.”
Oregon junior guard LeKendric Longmire also expressed his
admiration for Kent and said he hopes to play for him next season
in the Ducks’ new $227 million arena that is scheduled to open for
the start of the 2010-11 Pac-10 season.
“We all want to see coach here,” Longmire said. “We’re all
aware of everything that’s going on with him and media. I just feel
like he’s done a good job. He’s had two down years, but you always
want to win for your coach. He’s like a father figure to many of us
who are from single parent homes. That means a lot to us.”
Porter, a Detroit native, credits Kent with giving him an
opportunity to play at Oregon when many Division I programs did
“He’s an unbelievable coach,” Porter said. “The media bash
him a lot. The fellow people around Eugene bash him because his
team’s not doing well. But he’s a strong man. He keeps coming back.
He’s never changed, he’s never quit on us.”