Central Washington has hired a new men's basketball coach after more than 40 days of searching.

Brandon Rinta from Lewis and Clark State accepted the job, and he already has a tough task ahead of him: winning over the community.

It is safe to say that a majority of CWU fans were not pleased with the decision to release Greg Sparling after 31 years in Ellensburg. He was more than a basketball coach, he was a huge influence and beloved member of the Kittitas Valley community.

The decision to release Spar has already led alumni and community members pulling funding from the school, as well as a request for release from the university by GNAC Freshman of the Year Khalil Shabazz.

With Shabazz' skillset, and a 3.7 GPA, he has great opportunity to transfer into a higher conference than the GNAC.

One of the first things Rinta has to do is recruit. The Wildcats graduated six seniors last season, leaving just seven players returning for next season.

According to Rinta, the program looks for three things when recruiting: "Good people, good students and good players."

At LC State, Rinta found a winning formula, leading the Warriors to a 164-62 record over seven years, and the highest winning percentage by a Warrior coach in the past 50 years.

Rinta, who played his college ball at YVCC and CWU, is excited to return to Central Washington and get the Wildcats over the hump and break through the first round in the GNAC Playoffs.

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