Cougar Men’s Hoops Add Wayne Hunter to Coaching Staff
PULLMAN, Wash. (June 28, 2022) - Washington State Head Men's Basketball Coach Kyle Smith officially announced Tuesday the addition of Wayne Hunter as an assistant coach.
"We are extremely fortunate having Wayne on board," said Smith. "He is coming from a St. Mary's program that has been in the NCAA tournament or NIT the last 15 seasons.
"I have had the pleasure of recruiting and coaching Wayne as an assistant, and I am thrilled to work with him as a member of our staff," Smith continued. "Wayne will play a big role on the floor coaching. He will have a hand in all facets of our program, and he will specialize with working with the guards" His familiarity with our coaching style and our analytics will be vital."
Last year, Hunter joined the men's basketball staff on the Palouse as he briefly held the recruiting coordinator position before transitioning back to his alma mater as an assistant coach. He reunites with Smith who coached Hunter during the former standout guard's playing days at Saint Mary's.
Prior to coming to Washington State, Hunter spent the 2021-22 season at Saint Mary's College where he helped the Gaels to a 26-8 overall record and capped off the regular season at home with a win over top-ranked Gonzaga. The Gaels were a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the highest in program history, while reaching the second round.
"Wayne will also play a key role in recruiting," added Smith. "He has strong ties in the West with a strong connection to the Bay Area. Wayne is a talented assistant with a bright future. We are thrilled to have him with us. Go Cougs!"
Hunter originally got his collegiate coaching start in two seasons at UC Riverside as an assistant coach in 2020-21 where he helped guide the Highlanders to their most successful season in program history. Taking the lead on defensive analytics and advance scouting of opponents, Hunters' Highlanders ranked among the elite defensive teams in the country ranking 28th in scoring defense and 23rd in defensive field goal percentage. As a team, the Highlanders landed four players on the All-Big West team including former Coug, Arinze Chidom, who took home first team honors. In addition to his coaching, Hunter was instrumental in the recruiting of UCR's highest ranked recruit class in program history landing the Highlanders' first four-star prep in Jhaylon Martinez.
Before beginning his college coaching career, Hunter started his coaching career in the AAU and high school ranks at Kennedy HS, Oakland Technical HS, James Logan HS, and Miramonte HS as well as leading AAU's West Coast Elite Basketball Nor-Cal. As part of the National Under Armour Association (UAA) Circuit, the West Coast Elite U16 team rated as one of the top teams in the nation routinely ranking in the top-5 nationally among all UAA teams. Hunter's early work in AAU and high school basketball gave him intimate knowledge of compliance and recruiting rules while giving him a unique standing on the recruiting trail that he brings with him to WSU.
As a player, Hunter was a standout combo guard at Saint Mary's College where he helped lead the Gaels to three postseason appearances including a run to the Sweet 16 in 2010 as a senior. He graduated with a degree in communications in 2010.
He and his wife, Melissa, have a daughter, Maliya, and a son, Wayne.