Craig Ehlo has been hired for his first college coaching job an assistant at Eastern Washington. Ehlo, who had a 14-year NBA career, has a line in his bio which reads: "[Ehlo] was guarding Chicago Bulls Hall of Famer Michael Jordan on May 7, 1989, when Jordan sank his legendary series-clinching jumper in Cleveland in the first round of the NBA Playoffs."
Ehlo, 49, will now have his shot in the college ranks after serving on Gonzaga's broadcast crew for men's basketball games. The former Washington State star has also spent time coaching high school and at the Nike Skills Academy.
"Craig will excel in the area of individual player development," new Eastern Washington coach Jim Hayford said in a statement. "That's a passion of his and something he will do well. Everybody on the staff is responsible for recruiting as well, including Craig. When you are recruiting the caliber of player we want to recruit at Eastern, you are talking about players who want to play professional basketball. So to have somebody on our staff who was a NBA veteran gives us quite a compelling argument why players would want our staff coaching them at Eastern.
"Obviously, Craig Ehlo played in some legendary playoff games."
Eastern Washington struggled through a 10-20 season last season before the school declined to renew the contract of coach Kirk Earlywine. Hayford has already secured his most important recruit. Glen Dean, the team's leading scorer and former Big Sky freshman of the year, decided to return to the program after receiving his scholarship release to explore a transfer, according to The Spokesman-Review.
The move to hire Ehlo gives Eastern Washington name recognition, and bringing back Dean along with assistant coach Shantay Legans gives the team some continuity going forward.