Ernie Kent, a 1973 Parade magazine All-American basketball player at Rockford West High School, has been the mens head basketball coach at the University of Oregon (Ducks) since 1998. He also played his collegiate basketball at Oregon from 1974 to 1977.
During Kents freshman season at Oregon, his Ducks were able to upset the top-ranked team in the country. It was Feb. 16, 1974, when the UCLA Bruins, led by legendary coach John Wooden and featuring future NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton at center, came to Oregon as the nations top-ranked team. Kent and the Ducks won that game by 5 points, 56-51.
Last Saturday evening, Jan. 6, in Eugene, Ore., a mere 33 years later, Kents Ducks managed the improbable once again by upsetting the No. 1-rated team in the country. This time, the score was closer, 68-66, but, ironically, the team on the losing end was the same as it was 33 years earlierUCLA.
The Bruins came to Oregon riding a 14-game winning streak to start their 2006-07 season. Their last lost was against Florida in last years NCAA Championship game.
The Ducks came into the game as the 16th-ranked team in the country. Their only loss this season came in a heartbreaker Jan. 4 when they came up on the short end of an 84-82 game against Pac-10 conference foe, USC.
Kent and his wife Dianna reside in the Eugene area with their three children: sons Marcus and Jordan and daughter McKenzie. All three Kent children are students at the University of Oregon.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Jan. 10-16, 2007, issue