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Wayne Tinkle has delivered as promised in his first two seasons as Oregon State’s head basketball coach.
In Year 1, he guided a team picked to finish last in the Pacific-12 Conference after losing its top five scorers from the previous season to a 17-14 overall record, the most home wins (15) in school history, and victories over Pac-12 champion Arizona and NCAA Sweet-16 finisher UCLA.
In Year 2, he surpassed those milestones and capped another season of notable accomplishments when the Beavers garnered their first berth in the NCAA Tournament in 26 seasons.
The Beavers went 19-13, their most wins in a regular season since 1990. Tinkle thus became just the second coach in the program’s long and storied history with at least 17 games in his first two seasons. Bob Hager did so in 1923 (19-7) and 1924 (20-5).
OSU finished in a three-way tie for sixth place with a 9-9 Pac-12 record, its best conference record since 1993. The Beavers won 17 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1989 (22-8) and 1990 (22-7).
During the 2015-16 season, Oregon State defeated seven teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament -- California, Colorado, Iona, Oregon, USC, Tulsa and Utah.
Tinkle is now 36-27 (.571) in his OSU tenure, with two wins over top-25 opposition. The Beavers defeated No. 7 Arizona, 58-56, in 2015 and topped No. 21 USC, 85-70, this past season. It’s the first time they’ve defeated Top 25 teams in back-to-back seasons since 2005-2006.
Under Tinkle the Beavers are 29-5 when leading at halftime; 30-2 when leading with five minutes to play; 19-1 when outrebounding its opponent, and 9-2 in games decided by five points or less. They are also 27-5 (.844) at home in Gill Coliseum.
The 50-year-old Tinkle became the fourth OSU coach since 1928 to record a winning record in his first season in 2015. He joined Beaver legends Slats Gill, Paul Valenti and Jim Anderson in that exclusive fraternity.
Tinkle’s debut season was also replete with accomplishments and highlight moments. The Beavers:
· Set a school record for their best start at Gill Coliseum (14-0) and the most home wins in a single season (15).
· Posted an 8-10 Pac-12 record, their best conference mark since the 1992-93 team finished 9-9.
· Defeated No. 7 Arizona for their first win over a top-10 team in 15 years.
· Defeated Arizona, UCLA and Washington in the same season for the first time since 1990.
· Also downed DePaul of the Big East and Mississippi State of the SEC.
Tinkle stressed defense from his first day on the job and the Beavers responded. They led the Pac-12 in steals, 3-point field goal percentage defense and turnover margin. They also set school records for scoring defense, field-goal percentage defense and 3-point field goal percentage defense.
Tinkle steadfastly preached the value of teamwork but the Beavers have enjoyed their share of individual accomplishments as well in his first two seasons.
In 2016, senior guard Gary Payton II earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors for the second year in a row. He broke his father’s (former OSU All-American Gary Payton) school record of at least one steal in 38 consecutive games.
Payton II also earned first-team all-Pac-12 and Pac-12 all-defensive honors for the second season in a row. Also, forward Tres Tinkle, Wayne Tinkle’s son, earned honorable-mention on the All-Freshman Team.
In 2015, Payton II was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and earned All-Pac-12 First Team and Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honors after finishing second in the nation in steals. The junior transfer had a steal in all 31 games, the second-longest streak in school history. His 95 steals were the second most in Oregon State single-season history and tied for the third most in a season in Pac-12 history.
Tinkle inherited a senior-less program depleted by the graduation or transfer of six players who combined for 128 starts. That manpower shortage was further exacerbated in the offseason when Chi Baker, a touted incoming recruit from Florida who was expected to see significant playing time, was stricken with a heart ailment that sidelined him for the season.
Baker’s illness left the Beavers with just eight scholarship players. However, Tinkle cleared that hurdle by holding a campus-wide open tryout just before the start of practice.
Five of the 22 participants were added to the official roster, joining two walk-ons from the previous season, and all played a major part in the team’s success, as role players or by pushing the starters in practice. Tinkle subsequently rewarded them for their dedication and commitment by starting five walk-ons, all from the state of Oregon, against rival Oregon in the team’s final regular-season home game.
The success of Tinkle’s first season at OSU was noted nationally as he was named a semifinalist for the Naismith National Coach of the Year.
Tinkle was named the 21st head coach in OSU history on May 19, 2014, after leading Montana to three NCAA Tournament appearances and seven winning records in eight seasons. His Grizzlies captured Big Sky Conference regular-season titles in 2010, 2012 and 2013, and Big Sky Conference Tournament championships in 2012 and 2013.
He led Montana to four consecutive postseason trips from 2010-13, including the NCAA Tournament in 2010, 2012 and 2013. His 97 conference wins are the most by any Montana coach and his 158 overall victories are the second-most in school history.
He was named the Big Sky Coach of the Year after the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, and the NABC Division I All-District 6 Coach of the Year in 2012. He is the only coach in Montana history with three NCAA-Tournament berths and two Big Sky Coach of the Year awards.
Tinkle directed Montana to 25-7 seasons in 2011-12 and 2012-13 when the Grizzlies won the second-most games in school history in successive seasons. They won 25 consecutive Big Sky games in that span and set a conference record with 19 league wins in 2012-13.
Montana had winning records in seven of Tinkle’s eight years as head coach and won 20 or more games in four consecutive seasons (2010-13). He also went to the NCAA tournament three times during his five years as an assistant coach under Don Holst, Pat Kennedy and Larry Krystkowiak, presently the head coach at the University of Utah.
The son of a college administrator, Tinkle was born on Jan. 26, 1966 in Milwaukee, Wis., as the youngest of 11 children (seven girls and four boys). He graduated from Ferris High School in Spokane, Wash., in 1984, and then enrolled at Montana, where he had a standout career from 1986-89.
Tinkle was a standout forward for the Grizzlies from 1986-89 and a three-time All-Big Sky pick his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. He ranks fourth all-time at Montana in rebounds (836), and sixth in points (1,500). He earned the team’s Carl Dragstedt Award (MVP) in 1988 and 1989; led the team in rebounding in 1987, 1988 and 1989, and led the team in scoring in 1988 and 1989.
He then played professionally for 12 years with stints in the CBA and in Sweden, Spain, Italy and Greece before retiring to become a coach.
Tinkle earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana in health and human performance in 2005.
Tinkle is married to the former Lisa McLeod, who was a standout basketball player at Montana and was inducted into the Grizzly Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. They have two daughters, Joslyn and Elle, and one son, Tres.
Joslyn played in three basketball Final Fours during her four-year career at Stanford. Elle redshirted this past season at Gonzaga and helped lead the Bulldogs to the Sweet 16 in 2015.
A two-time Gatorade Montana Player of the Year at Missoula’s Hellgate High School, Tres joined the program for the 2015-16 season and earned Pac-12 All-Freshman Team honorable mention recognition.