UW Huskies hire Utah State’s Danny Sprinkle as men’s hoops coach

Mar 25, 2024, 9:44 AM | Updated: 7:02 pm

UW Huskies Sprinkle Danny basketball coach...

Coach Danny Sprinkle of Montana State looks on during an NCAA Tournament practice in 2023. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

(Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The UW Huskies have hired Utah State’s Danny Sprinkle as men’s basketball coach on Monday hoping his success at smaller schools and lineage to the university can revitalize the program as it moves into the Big Ten starting next season.

Sprinkle’s hiring came one day after Utah State was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament with a second round loss to Purdue.

Insider View: Who is new UW Huskies coach Danny Sprinkle?

“It was going to take something special for me to leave Logan, and the University of Washington was it,” Sprinkle said in a statement. “The university means a great deal to our family and I am excited to return to my home state.”

Per UW Huskies insider Christian Caple of On Montlake and Seattle Sports, Sprinkle’s contract is for six years and $22.1 million.

Sprinkle, who was born in Pullman, Wash., spent just one season at Utah State but it was a massively successful year. The Aggies went 28-7 and 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.

More: KSL Sports on Danny Sprinkle to the UW Huskies

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.

“Coach is exactly what our program needs at this moment in time and we are thrilled to have him take the reigns of our men’s basketball program,” interim Washington athletic director Erin O’Connell said.

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.

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ESPN’s Jeff Borzello reported last week that Sprinkle was the favorite to be hired by the Huskies, and wrote that the departure of athletic director Dannen for Nebraska unlikely changed anything with Washington’s coach search “given how far along the Huskies were in the process.”

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.

Seattle Sports staff made contributions to this post.

More on the UW Huskies

ESPN’s Thamel: Why AD Dannen left UW for Nebraska
Ranked: Who are and aren’t realistic UW Huskies AD candidates
Huard: The three things UW must prioritize with athletic director hire
UW Huskies AD Search: Pros, cons and candidates to consider

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