A former Cougar standout on the basketball court and 20-year coaching veteran, Bennie Seltzer returns to Pullman to join Ernie Kent’s staff as an assistant men’s basketball coach, Kent announced Friday.
“I’m very excited to announce Bennie Seltzer as our newest assistant coach at Washington State University,” Kent said. “Bennie was an outstanding player at Washington State and I think he’ll add a lot to our staff and to our basketball program. Anytime you can bring back a successful product of your university, it speaks volumes of how we prepare our student-athletes for success.”
Seltzer spent the last two years on Porter Moser’s basketball staff at Loyola Chicago as an assistant men’s basketball coach. Last season Seltzer’s Ramblers defeated the Cougars in the final game of the Paradise Jam, played at St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Nov. 21.
“My family and I are extremely excited to be a part of the Cougar Basketball program once again,” Seltzer said. “It has always been my dream to coach at my alma mater. Having the opportunity to do just that under the leadership of Ernie Kent excites me even more. We are truly grateful and want to thank Coach Kent, his staff, Bill Moos and the entire Cougar Basketball family for this amazing opportunity. Go Cougs! ”
A 6-foot guard, Seltzer starred at WSU from 1990-93, where he is still the school’s all-time career assists leader (473). At the point of his graduation, he held the second-best career scoring mark in school history with 1423 points (now ninth), the third-most career steals (now seventh) and the third-most minutes played (now 12th). He capped his WSU career by earning First Team All-Pac 10 honors as a senior, averaging 17.9 points per game, as he helped then-head coach Kelvin Sampson turn around the program. In honor of his standout career, Seltzer was inducted into the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Hall of Honor in 2015.
Seltzer began his coaching career in 1997, serving as an assistant coach for nine seasons under his former coach Sampson at Oklahoma. The Sooners averaged 25 wins per season during his time in Norman and made eight NCAA Tournament trips, including runs to the Sweet 16 (1999), Elite Eight (2003) and Final Four (2002).
In 2006, Seltzer then moved on to Marquette, spending a pair of seasons on Tom Crean’s coaching staff. The Golden Eagles made the NCAA Tournament both seasons and Seltzer followed Crean to Indiana, where he was an assistant coach for four years. While in Bloomington, Seltzer was instrumental in recruiting some top-level talent to help the Hoosiers’ rebuilding project, bringing in Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford among others as part of a group that would form the foundation of IU’s 2012-13 squad that spent 10 weeks ranked No. 1 in the national poll and earned a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament.
In 2012, Seltzer returned to his hometown of Birmingham, Ala. and was named the head coach at Samford University. He unquestionably raised the talent level during his two seasons there, seeing Tim Williams (2013) and Isaiah Williams (2014) earn Southern Conference Freshman of the Year honors, while Williams matured into a First Team All-SoCon pick his sophomore year. After his departure from Samford, Seltzer returned to Bloomington in January 2015 and served as Crean’s director of player performance for six months.
In addition to his collegiate experience, Seltzer was one of four court coaches for USA Basketball’s national team trials in July 2004, conducting drills, coaching scrimmages and developing players for the group vying for spots on the 2004 USA World Championship for Young Men Qualifying Team. The eventual 12-man team went on to win the gold medal, winning all five of its games.
Seltzer entered the coaching profession after a successful playing career that began at Washington State and took him overseas upon graduation. After leaving Pullman, Seltzer embarked on a four-year professional career that took him to Turkey, Venezuela, Poland and Holland.