Washington finalizing deal to hire Danny Sprinkle as new head coach, AP source says

Utah State head coach Danny Sprinkle is seen on the sidelines during the first half of a second-round college basketball game against Purdue in the NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2024 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Utah State head coach Danny Sprinkle is seen on the sidelines during the first half of a second-round college basketball game against Purdue in the NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 24, 2024 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Washington is finalizing a deal to hire Utah State’s Danny Sprinkle as its next men’s basketball coach, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the school has not announced the hiring. Field of 68 and The Seattle Times first reported the expected hire.

The Huskies are hoping Sprinkle’s success at smaller schools and lineage to the university can revitalize the program as it moves into the Big Ten starting next season. His expected hiring comes one day after Utah State was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament with a second round loss to Purdue.

Sprinkle spent just one season at Utah State but it was a massively successful year. The Aggies won the Mountain West regular-season title after being picked to finish ninth in the preseason poll. Utah State reached the semifinals of the Mountain West tournament and won its first NCAA Tournament game since 2001 when it topped TCU in the first round.

Leaving Utah State after just one season probably wasn’t in the plans for Sprinkle, but turning down a chance to take over at Washington likely couldn’t be passed up, especially considering his family connection. Sprinkle’s father, Bill, played football for the Huskies in the 1960s.

Sprinkle will replace Mike Hopkins, who was let go with one year remaining on his contract. Hopkins spent seven seasons at Washington and made the NCAA Tournament only once.

Hopkins’ tenure was defined by a frustrating stretch of mediocre results, an inability to put Washington back into the elite of the Pac-12 and with the Huskies moving to the Big Ten starting next season. Washington went 17-14 overall this season and finished 9-11 in Pac-12 play. Hopkins was 118-106 overall, but just 62-72 in conference play during his time at Washington.

Sprinkle will be walking into an odd situation without a permanent sitting athletic director. Troy Dannen unexpectedly left Washington to take over at Nebraska last week, leaving a void as the Huskies attempted to complete the hiring for one of its most prominent positions.

Dannen conducted interviews and put together an offer that was waiting for Sprinkle once the Utah State season came to an end. The uncertainty was whether Sprinkle would accept it and take the job not knowing who his boss would be.

But the draw of coaching in a power conference was too much to turn down. Sprinkle spent four seasons as the head coach at his alma mater of Montana State before taking the head job in Logan. Sprinkle has coached in the NCAA Tournament in three straight seasons, earning back-to-back bids his final two seasons at Montana State before guiding Utah State to an unexpected bid this season.

Sprinkle also has significant connections in southern California after spending a decade as an assistant at Cal State Northridge and Cal State Fullerton.

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AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness

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