Tinkle takes over Beavs

By Jesse Sowa / Corvallis Gazette-Times

The Tinkle file

Year Team Record NCAAs

2006-07 Montana 17-15

07-08 Montana 14-16

08-09 Montana 17-12

09-10 Montana 22-10 Y

10-11 Montana 21-11

11-12 Montana 25-7 Y

12-13 Montana 25-7 Y

13-14 Montana 17-13

Total 8 seasons 158-91

CORVALLIS — Oregon State has its new men’s basketball coach.

Wayne Tinkle, Montana’s coach for the past eight seasons, becomes the next man in line to try to get the Beavers back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1990.

Oregon State announced the hiring of Tinkle, who took the Grizzlies to the NCAA tournament three times, via email Monday night.

Oregon State athletic director Bob De Carolis called Tinkle’s hiring “a new era in Beaver men’s basketball of regularly competing within the top echelon of the Pac-12 for the conference championship and for postseason NCAA competition.”

“The more I went through the process, the more recommendations I received about coach Tinkle,” added De Carolis, whose search took two weeks.

“His success on the basketball court as a coach and player is well documented, but even more so, I was impressed with his demeanor, family and philosophy. I think he is a perfect fit for our basketball program, Oregon State University, the community and this state.”

Tinkle, 48, will be introduced during a press conference Wednesday.

He replaces Craig Robinson, who was fired earlier this month after six seasons. Robinson is the brother-in-law of President Barack Obama,

In eight seasons at Montana, Tinkle was 158-91 overall and 97-39 in Big Sky Conference play.

The Grizzlies won 21 or more games during a four-year stretch (2010-13) that included three trips to the NCAA tournament and four consecutive Big Sky postseason tournament finals from 2010-13, winning three.

The Big Sky coach of the year in 2012 and 2013, Tinkle was also an assistant on three Montana teams that reached the NCAA tournament during his five years in that position.

“It’s a great day to be a Beaver. Go, Beavs,” Tinkle said in a video clip from Oregon State on Twitter that shows him signing his contract with his family in Montana.

The hiring is contingent upon passing a customary background check, Oregon State said.

Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins was reported to have been the other finalist for the job.

“Coach Tinkle is a proven recruiter who has had great success at Montana,” former Beavers All-American Charlie Sitton said in the school’s release. “His teams are known for hard-nosed defense, and I like how he holds his players accountable. I think he will fit in very well at Oregon State, and I’m very optimistic about the future for the Beavers.”

Tinkle takes over a program depleted by departures. Job No. 1 could be trying to keep this year’s recruiting class on board with coming to Corvallis.

Six Oregon State seniors from this past season have graduated or will soon after using up their eligibility. Junior forward Eric Moreland declared for today’s NBA draft.

Freshman point guard Hallice Cooke decided to transfer and announced via Twitter earlier Monday that he will attend Iowa State.

Junior point guard Challe Barton decided to return home to Sweden and play professional basketball in Europe.

Oregon State went 16-16 overall (8-10 in Pac-12 play) last season with a team filled with veterans and hopes of making the NCAA tournament.

The Beavers got conference wins against four teams that reached the Big Dance, but the season ended with a thud in a home loss to Radford in the College Basketball Invitational.

De Carolis originally backed Robinson, releasing a letter of support on March 28, but changed his mind about a month later.

In a press conference after the firing, De Carolis said it was the player defections that “cemented that feeling” that the program needed a fresh start.

“And as I pulled myself away after I had made the (initial) decision and just went back and reevaluated all those thoughts, I was coming to a different place,” De Carolis said.

If he hasn’t already, Tinkle will soon begin building his staff.

One former assistant who could be in consideration is Freddie Owens, who just completed his first year as an Oregon State assistant.

Owens was on Tinkle’s staff at Montana the previous four seasons.