The Washington State Cougars have fired head coach Ernie Kent, the university announced on Thursday.
The move comes just one day after the Cougars suffered an embarrassing 84–51 defeat to Oregon in the Pac-12 Tournament opener. Washington State lost six straight outings to end the season with a record of 11–21.
"I met with Ernie earlier today and let him know I would be making a change in the leadership of our basketball program," director of athletics Pat Chun said in a statement. "We appreciate all that Ernie has done for Washington State but at this time we need a new direction to energize our fan base and return the program to prominence. I am optimistic that our returning student-athletes give us an immediate opportunity to move our program in a positive trajectory."
During his first season in Pullman, Kent's Cougars finished 13–18 and 7–11 in the conference. Washington State finished eighth in the league standings that season but never finished higher than 10th over the last four campaigns.
Kent had three years left on a contract that paid him an annual salary of $1.4 million. The Cougars will have to pay Kent $4.2 million through 2022.
In his five seasons at Washington State, Kent was 58–98 overall and recorded losing seasons in all five years. Kent has a career coaching record of 383–351.
The search for a new coach will begin immediately, according to the university.