Ray Lopes Leaves Idaho, Returns to Washington State - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Washington State Basketball

Ray Lopes Leaves Idaho, Returns to Washington State to Coach Cougars

Ray Lopes returns to WSU after spending the previous four years at the University of Idaho (Photo: Univ. of Idaho Athletics) Ray Lopes returns to WSU after spending the previous four years at the University of Idaho (Photo: Univ. of Idaho Athletics)

by WSU Athletics

PULLMAN, Wash. – Ray Lopes has been named assistant men's basketball coach at Washington State University, Cougar Head Coach Ken Bone announced, Tuesday.

No stranger to the Palouse, Lopes rejoins the WSU staff after serving on the Idaho men's basketball staff the last four seasons, the last three as associate head coach and the first year as assistant coach. Lopes was a member of Kelvin Sampson's Cougar coaching staff during the 1993-94 season as an assistant coach, before following him to Oklahoma to serve in the same capacity from 1994-2002. In Lopes' lone year with the Cougars under Sampson, WSU recorded a 20-11 overall mark, finished fourth in the Pacific-10 Conference and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

"Ray adds a dimension to our staff that will help us meet the goals we're looking to fulfill within the basketball program here at WSU," Bone said. "He is an experienced coach who has been at several Division I universities that have had success with his recruiting and coaching abilities. He has won at Washington State before and has been to several NCAA Tournaments, including a trip to the Final Four while at Oklahoma in 2002. He is a great recruiter with ties all over the country and has had success recruiting to the Palouse."

Lopes' résumé shows success at multiple levels in his 20-plus years of coaching, and includes a Western Athletic Conference regular-season title with Fresno State in 2003 and an NBA D-League Championship with the Idaho Stampede during the 2007-08 season, as well as an NCAA Final Four appearance with Oklahoma in 2002.

While at Idaho, Lopes helped lead the team to 69 victories over four seasons, three top-three WAC finishes and three postseason appearances in four seasons. During that span, Idaho earned two of the team's three all-time postseason victories.

Lopes spent two years as associate head coach of the Idaho Stampede at Boise. The team finished 36-14 on its way to the 2007-08 NBA D-League Championship. During the 2006-07 season, the Stampede tied for the best record in the league at 33-17.He spent the season prior as a personnel scout for the San Antonio Spurs.

Prior to his NBA experience, Lopes was head coach at Fresno State, compiling a cumulative 50-37 record over three seasons. He was named WAC Coach of the Year and CBS Sportsline Rookie Coach of the Year in 2003 as the Bulldogs captured the WAC regular-season title.

Before he landed at Fresno, Lopes spent eight seasons as an assistant coach at the Oklahoma under Sampson. He helped the Sooners to eight-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the Sweet 16 in 1999 and the 2002 Final Four. While at Oklahoma, the Sooners won at least 20 games five seasons in a row, averaging 26 wins per year, including a 31-5 record in 2001-02. The Sooners had a 187-74 record while Lopes was an assistant coach and won the 2001 and 2002 Big 12 Tournament titles. Oklahoma was no worse than a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament over his final three years.

Lopes joined the Washington State staff after a four-year stint as an assistant at UC Santa Barbara from 1989-93 under head coach Jerry Pimm. The Gauchos posted a 73-44 record and advanced to three postseason tournaments. In 1990, UC Santa Barbara advanced to the second round of the NCAA Southeast Regional before losing to the Steve Smith-led Michigan State Spartans. That year, the Gauchos knocked off Jerry Tarkanian's great UNLV team that won 34 consecutive games and the NCAA title.

Lopes gained his first Division I coaching position in 1988 at Weber State under Denny Huston, where he tutored the Wildcat guards for one season. He began his coaching career at West Valley (Saratoga, Calif.) Community College as an assistant during the 1987-88 season. There he helped guide West Valley to a 23-7 record and a spot in the state tournament's Elite Eight. During his 14 seasons as an assistant coach, Lopes has been in the postseason 12 years, including 10 NCAA Tournament appearances.

A native of New Haven, Conn., Lopes moved to Hayward, Calif., as a junior in high school. He played two seasons at West Valley Community College before transferring to the College of Idaho. He was a two-year starter for the Coyotes and led them to two-consecutive district championships and trips to the NAIA National Championship in Kansas City. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from the College of Idaho in 1987.

Lopes and his wife, Pierrette, have two daughters, Alaina and Teylor, and a son, Trey.

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