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Worst Oregon State season ever... Wayne Tinkle on the hot seat?

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And where does the team go from here?

NCAA Basketball: Colorado at Oregon State Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The men’s basketball team is on a dangerous path headed towards the single worst season in program history. The Beavers current record of 3-21 (.125) would be the worst winning percentage ever and it’s unlikely to improve as the season winds down. Oregon State has six remaining regular season games and then they’ll be slotted in as the 12th-seed in the Pac-12 tournament. The Beavers face the Sun Devils tonight on ESPN2 and they are 8.5 point underdogs. There’s not an easy game left on the schedule and the Beavs will be underdogs in each contest. Here’s the kicker, Oregon State would need to pull off two upsets in order to avoid having the worst winning percentage in school history.

Worst Seasons in Oregon State Basketball History

  1. 2021-22: 3-21 (.125) | Head Coach: Wayne Tinkle*
  2. 1995-96: 4-23 (.148) | Head Coach: Eddie Payne
  3. 2016-17: 5-27 (.156) | Head Coach: Wayne Tinkle
  4. 1918-19: 3-13 (.188) | Head Coach: H.W. Hargiss
  5. 2007-08: 6-25 (.194) | Head Coach: Jay John / Kevin Mouton
  6. 1993-94: 6-21 (.222) | Head Coach: Jim Anderson

*Beavers need at least 2 additional wins to avoid finishing #1 on this list

The easiest solution is to place the blame on Wayne Tinkle; fire him and let a new coach take over as the program rebuilds. For better or worse, I can almost guarantee that won’t happen. Thanks to last season’s remarkable Elite Eight run, Wayne Tinkle was handed and signed a massive contract extension. He’s signed all the way through the 2026-27 season. His buyout would cost Oregon State $1.5 million. Starting with the 2023-24 season, Tinkle’s buyout decreases to $750,000. If the situation doesn’t improve by March 2023, Oregon State might consider eating the buyout and moving on. But I would be shocked if they made a move this season or next.

Correction: The buyout referred to above is what Wayne Tinkle would have to pay if he took another job. Oregon State would be on the hook for Tinkle’s full salary if they were to let him go early. Salary per year listed below... (h/t Nick Daschel, The Oregonian - @nickdaschel)

  • 2021-22: $2,500,000
  • 2022-23: $2,600,000
  • 2023-24: $2,700,000
  • 2024-25: $2,800,000
  • 2025-26: $2,900,000
  • 2026-27: $3,000,000

If Oregon State pulled the trigger and fired Wayne Tinkle this offseason, they would owe Wayne Tinkle $14 million to not coach for them anymore and still need to pay and hire another basketball coach. That’s a tough pill to swallow, no matter how dissatisfied you are with his job performance.

Where does the men’s program go from here? Coincidentally Wayne Tinkle has dealt with disaster seasons while coaching at Oregon State. After making the tournament during the 2015-16 season the Beavers struggled mightily the following season. Much like this team has struggled to replace Ethan Thompson, the 2016-17 squad failed to deal with the loss of Gary Payton II.

Previously Oregon State was able to bounce-back from their disappointing season. Young guys gained experience from a rebuilding year and they rebounded in a big way; turning into an average-to-decent college basketball team. The problem with this current team? There is a lot of upperclassman on this roster. This was not supposed to be a rebuilding year especially after that exhilarating Elite Eight run.

Who knows what the future will hold. Maybe young guys like Glenn Taylor Jr and incoming German forward Michael Rataj can help Oregon State rebound in a huge way next season. There are a number of upperclassmen that could comeback. The players are talented, this isn’t an unskilled roster. But the best Wayne Tinkle teams have always defended like crazy and given phenomenal effort on both ends of the floor. Last year’s Elite Eight run was a product of exceptional defense and the players knowing the scheme and trusting each other. If Wayne Tinkle can’t accurately teach his scheme and inspire his players to play great defense next season; it will likely be his last as Oregon State’s head basketball coach.