Ernie Kent reportedly fired at Oregon; Kent won't comment

Rumors about Ernie Kent's job security at Oregon seem as old as McArthur Court.

Late Saturday night, KVAL TV in Oregon reported that Kent was told he was out of a job.

Back on Feb. 22.

That's when Oregon AD Mike Bellotti, again, reportedly — according to unnamed sources — had a sit-down with Kent to let him know his job would up open for hire at the end of this season.

The Ducks won on Senior Night, 74-66 over Washington State, in what's probably the final game at Mac Court. What's weirder: news of Kent's firing was broken while the game was taking place. As the news of Kent's future surely spread in the arena, I'm sure it rather awkward.

After the game, neither Kent nor Bellotti would speak to the KVAL report.

"I have not heard the report,'' Kent said. "I'm talking about Tajuan Porter and Dick Harter (the former Oregon coach honored before Thursday night's game), and I don't know why you guys won't listen to me on that, because it's their week and it's their day. I'm 55, and I spent seven years in the Middle East, and 20 years working to get back here to Oregon, so it's not too much that's going to hit me in my gut.''

No words means bad news.

Or, as far as many Oregon fans are concerned, good. Kent, although he took the program to two Elite Eights (2002 and 2007), has been a wanted man for some time now. Expectations are Oregon, not exactly an elite basketball school, are more than a 23-37 record in the past two seasons.

But Kent has spent the past 13 seasons at Oregon. He's accumulated 234 wins (most in school history). He's the longest-tenured coach in the conference. But with only four years with winning Pac-10 records, it seems inevitable that Kent is about to lose that tenure.

Bellotti said he would speak about Kent's future with the program during the Pac-10 tournament. Presumably, after Kent and the Ducks lose, wherein questions about the head coaching position will be all too plentiful to brush aside, as they were tonight.

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