As spring rolls around, changes are just around the corner for Central Washington University sports.

Basketball season wrapped up in the first weekend of March, but that was just the beginning of what was coming next. Central Washington parted ways with Coach Greg Sparling five days after his Wildcat side was bumped in the first round of the GNAC tournament.

Sparling spent 31 years in Ellensburg, 24 years as a head coach, three as an assistant coach and four as a player.

A local source has named three of the four finalists as Western Oregon head coach Jim Shaw, Lewis and Clark State head coach Brandon Rinta, and University of Idaho assistant Tim Murphy.

Jim Shaw took Western Oregon to the Division II Final Four in the 2016-17 season and led the Wolves to the NCAA West Region Final this season.

Shaw spent five years under Lorenzo Romar at the University of Washington, and two years as an assistant at St. Mary’s before taking the reins at W.O.U.

Brandon Rinta has been at Lewis and Clark State since 2011, posting a 72 percent winning percentage (141-53).

Previously, Rinta was in the GNAC on the Northwest Nazarene coaching staff, and also spent time as an assistant for five years with Eastern Washington University, making trips to both the NIT and the NCAA tournament.

Rinta’s playing days came from Yakima Valley Community College, where he was coached by CWU’s all-time winningest coach, Dean Nicholson. After time at YVCC, he transferred to CWU to play under Greg Sparling and led the team to a PAC-WEST conference title.

Tim Murphy has spent eight years as an assistant at the U of I, and has a total of 30 years of coaching under his belt.

Murphy has done a majority of coaching in California, being at St. Mary’s, Cal Poly, Cal State San Bernardino, and UC Irvine.

Development and recruiting have been Murphy’s specialties in his career, developing six players to make it to the National Basketball Association.

The fourth candidate remains anonymous but will be making a visit to the CWU campus by the end of the week, according to Athletic Director Dennis Francois.

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