Tinkle aims to return Beavers to relevancy

By Jesse Sowa / Corvallis Gazette-Times

A tough road ahead

Wayne Tinkle’s charge at Oregon State is to return the Beavers to the glory years of the 1980s under coach Ralph Miller. But since the Miller era ended in 1989, the Beavers have had just one winning record in conference play — in 1990, the first year after Miller left — and no coach has left Corvallis with a winning record.

Coach Years Record Pct. Conf Pct.

Craig Robinson 2008-14 94-105 .472 39-69 .361

Kevin Mouton* 2008 0-13 .000 0-12 .000

Jay John 2002-08 72-97 .426 28-68 .292

Ritchie McKay 2000-02 22-37 .373 8-28 .222

Eddie Payne 1995-00 50-90 .357 20-70 .222

Jim Anderson 1989-95 79-90 .467 47-61 .435

Totals 317-432 .423 142-308 .316

* interim coach

Wayne Tinkle got a text from a former Oregon State player talking about making Beavers basketball relevant again.

That’s certainly one of the biggest tasks ahead for Tinkle, who was introduced as Oregon State’s new men’s coach during a press conference Wednesday evening.

Tinkle comes to Corvallis after eight years as head coach at Montana, where he guided the Grizzlies to the NCAA tournament three times and had four straight seasons of 20-plus wins.

Tinkle, 48, said he heard all about the potential hurdles of coaching the Beavers and the struggles that have lingered since the Beavers’ last trip to the Big Dance in 1990.

“And I quickly asked, tell me where there’s an easy job in the game of basketball,” he said.

“And we see opportunity, where there may be obstacles to others we’re excited about the opportunities here.”

The 6-foot-10 Tinkle said it wasn’t easy leaving Missoula, with the returning players and incoming recruits there, and “walking away really, really beat me up.”

But he was sold on Oregon State and Corvallis alike.

“The biggest factor in it all was that it was an unbelievable place to work, that environment,” said Tinkle, who was hired Monday.

The coaching search included several other highly qualified candidates, including former UCLA coach Ben Howland.

But in the end, Oregon State athletic director Bob De Carolis said, Tinkle was the correct man for the job.

“Coach Tinkle has the right priorities, the right character and he is definitely the right fit for the right time at Oregon State,” De Carolis said.

Tinkle was 158-91 overall and 97-39 in Big Sky Conference play as Montana’s head coach.

His teams went to four straight Big Sky postseason tournament championship games from 2010-13 and won three.

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

Tinkle is a Montana alum who played 12 years of professional basketball in Europe.

Tinkle takes over a depleted roster after six players graduated and three others decided to leave the school for various reasons since the season ended more than two months ago.

Forward Olaf Schaftenaar, who will be a junior next year, said it was a difficult time after the returning players learned from De Carolis that Robinson would not be back.

“It’s just weird walking around campus and not knowing who your coach is,” he said.

Schaftenaar said Tinkle’s words about being disciplined players during a meeting with his new team was something that stuck with him and that he appreciated.

Malcolm Duvivier, a guard who will be a sophomore next season, said he found Tinkle “genuinely happy” to be at Oregon State.

“Now we actually have a coach and I think we’re all ready to just buy in to whatever he has to do to win, because that’s all we came here to do is win games and become better people and better basketball players,” he said.

In addition to meeting his new players, another of Tinkle’s first tasks was to contact those players who have signed with the Beavers for this coming season.

Guards Chai Baker and Gary Payton II, the son of Beavers great Gary Payton, reaffirmed their commitments, Tinkle said, adding that he hopes to have “some good news” in the coming days about the others.

Also on his priority list are figuring out how many scholarships are available, working on the program’s budget and walking the campus to connect with as many people as possible.