Randy Rahe retires at Weber State; Eric Duft named new men’s basketball coach | News, Sports, Jobs

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In this April 2, 2013 photo, Portland Trail Blazers goaltender Damian Lillard shares a moment with Weber State men’s basketball head coach Randy Rahe before the CIT Tournament Championship game at the Dee Events Center in Ogden.

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Weber State head coach Randy Rahe guides his team during the second half of the game against Sacramento State Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 at the Dee Events Center in Ogden.

MATT HERP, Standard Examiner

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Montana head coach Travis DeCuire, left, and Weber State head coach Randy Rahe laugh before facing off in a Big Sky Conference tournament semifinal on Friday March 15, 2019, at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho.

BROOKS NUANEZ, Skyline Sports/for Big Sky Conference

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Weber State head coach Randy Rahe leads his team in a huddle during the second half of the game against Sacramento State Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 at the Dee Events Center in Ogden.

MATT HERP/Standard Examiner

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In this Aug. 29, 2015, file photo, coach Randy Rahe and former Weber State star Damian Lillard talk while coaching a team during the WSU Alumni Classic at the Dee Events Center.

Brian Nicholson, Special to Standard Examiner

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Weber State head coach Randy Rahe guides his team through a second half while battling Southern Utah in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Championships Thursday, March 9, 2017 at the Reno Events Center in Reno , Nevada.

Matt Herp

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This story will be updated.

The winningest coach in Weber State and Big Sky Conference men’s basketball history is hanging up.

Randy Rahe is retiring as Weber State’s longest-serving head coach, the school announced Monday afternoon. And his 16-year-old assistant Eric Duft has been named to replace him, the program’s 10th head coach since joining Division I in 1963.

Rahe retires just shy of his 62nd birthday with a 316-191 overall record and a 198-85 mark in Big Sky Conference games, each the most wins in league history.

“Great career! Greatest coach in Big Sky history,” Damian Lillard tweeted on Monday. “Grateful to have been part of his program! The strongest.

Rahe was hired to lead the Weber State program in 2006 after several years as an assistant coach at Utah and Utah State. He immediately took the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament that season.

He coached Weber State to five Big Sky Championships and was named Big Sky Coach of the Year four times.

“In addition to being the winningest coach in Weber State and Big Sky Conference history, Randy Rahe exemplified running a program with integrity,” said the president of Weber State University, Brad Mortensen, in a press release. “With Coach Rahe at the helm, we have always held our heads up high. On behalf of the university, I sincerely want to thank Randy for being a role model coach and the contributions he has made to Wildcat basketball and the the entire Weber State.

The Wildcats would enter the tournament only twice more over the next 15 years after Rahe’s first campaign, the major flaw in an otherwise stellar career that was unprecedented in the conference and which saw dozens of players pursue a professional career.

Rahe was also known as a sage on campus to other head coaches navigating their jobs, most of whom came to WSU as first-time head coaches.

Duft, 49, takes over after coaching under Rahe as assistant coach for all 16 seasons, including the last 13 as associate head coach.

“Couldn’t think of anyone who deserves it more!! Your Duft Time!!!,” tweeted Kellen McCoy, former Big Sky MVP player and assistant coach under Rahe and Duft at Weber State.

The Sterling, Kansas native has had ties to basketball in the Midwest, including the vibrant junior college basketball scene in his home state. Duft coached for 10 years at Hutchinson Junior College, Cowley County Community College and Central Community College before joining Rahe’s staff at Weber State. He served as Central’s head coach for one season during this time.

Duft is married to Sherri, a physical therapist. They have four children: Jaret, who plays men’s basketball at Colorado Christian University; Halle, who plays women’s basketball in Missouri-Kansas City; Easton and Kourt.

“We are thrilled to have Coach Duft begin his tenure as head coach at Weber State,” athletic director Tim Crompton said in a press release. “His high character and passion for the game bodes well for building the next phase of success and championships at Weber State.”

It seems more than likely that Duft will retain assistant coaches Eric Daniels and Jorge Ruiz, with an upcoming search for another assistant to join them – although their order of seniority remains to be seen.

Weber State currently has 10 of its 13 committed purses for next season, likely needing a guard and two big men to round out the roster.

PLAYER REACTION

Former players reacted to the announcement of Rahe’s retirement on social media.

“Thank you for everything Coach Rahe! I learned a lot from you during my time at Weber,” the program’s all-time top scorer Jerrick Harding said on Instagram. “Definitely a legend and had one hell of a career ! Greatest coach in Big Sky history! HOOF!! Love.”

“Love and appreciate your coach, believe in me (for real),” 2020-21 guard Isiah Brown posted on Instagram. “You’re a solid rare as they come!!”

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