| Ritchie McKay
Ritchie McKay is in his second year at the helm of the Oregon State University basketball program, continuing his rebuilding process at Gill Coliseum for the conference's all-time winningest program.
The 36-year-old McKay, the youngest head coach in the Pac-10 Conference, has compiled a record of 71-72. The record includes revitalizing the Portland State University program, which hadn't fielded a men's basketball team in 15 years. His record also includes his first year in Corvallis, where a plethora of on and off the court issues relegated the Beavers to just seven players in some games, and never more than nine.
“Last year was certainly one of my biggest challenges as a coach at any level,” McKay said. “I was proud how the team stayed together and played noticeably at a higher level at the end of the year.”
McKay's choice as only the sixth head coach at OSU since 1929 was a popular one with many basketball experts from around the country. He is largely considered one of the bright minds of college basketball.
“He has a proven record of success every place he has coached,” OSU Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart said upon McKay's appointment in late March of 2000. “He has a vision of how he wants a college basketball program to appear, and he communicates that vision to his student-athletes daily.”
McKay came to the mid-Willamette Valley from Colorado State University where he was the head coach for the 1999 and 2000 seasons. The Rams were 37-22 (.627) with McKay, which included a 1999 National Invitation Tournament berth. Colorado State defeated Mississippi State and in-state rival Colorado in the NIT, before losing to eventual tournament champion California. The 2000 season featured the first year of play for the Mountain West Conference, and CSU posted an 18-12 record and a fourth-place finish. A pair of victories over nationally ranked opponents, the first time in a decade at CSU, and capturing the title of the second annual Pearl Harbor Classic in Hawaii were some of the highlights of the season. The Rams also defeated Pacific-10 Conference foes Oregon State, UCLA, and Washington State. College Hoops Insider Magazine noticed the success of the 2000 Rams and tabbed McKay as its MWC Coach of the Year.
Before arriving on the Fort Collins, Colo., campus in 1998, McKay served as the head coach at Portland State University. The PSU job was more than just coaching and recruiting, it was starting from ground zero! McKay led the program to a rather astonishing nine victories in the school's first season since the early 1980s. The team followed with a 15-12 mark in year two and a third-place finish in the Big Sky Conference.
McKay's coaching career began in 1988 at the University of Washington. He then made stops as an assistant at Queens College in North Carolina (1989-90), Seattle Pacific University (1990-91), Bradley University (1991-93), and back to Washington (1993-95). His coaching stints also include serving as an assistant to Bradley's Jim Molinari at the 1997 World University Games in Italy, and helping the USA to a Gold Medal.
McKay's teams have a reputation for playing with an abundance of energy and pride, attributes Oregon State fans witnessed first-hand last year.
“The first thing this program is going to be known for is its representation of Oregon State University with great pride,” McKay said.
McKay strives to have his program be a beneficial part of not only the OSU community, but the community of Corvallis and the state. His goals are to have his student-athletes become successful in all walks of life.
“To succeed in athletics and in life you have to believe in what you are doing, and believe in the people you are working with,” McKay stated. “Our desire is for this program to reflect qualities that lead to success on and off the floor. Humility, passion, unity, and servant-hood are some of the pillars we build to achieve our goals.”
Apparently many people believe in what McKay is doing. In just his first year at Portland State he was named one of six finalists for the Clair Bee Award, given annually to the coach with the most influence and innovation on the game of basketball. Two of the other finalists were Dean Smith of North Carolina and Mike Krzyzewski of Duke.
McKay's uses his influence and knowledge to benefit the program as a whole.
“Our players and coaches are committed to having a program that everyone associated with Oregon State University will be proud of,” McKay said. “We are striving to have a first-class, nationally respected program.”
As a player, McKay was a standout at Seattle Pacific University. He left the program as the school's single season and career record holder for steals, and was third for career assists. He still holds the school record with 10 steals in a 1987 game against Pacific Lutheran. He also left SPU with a degree in athletic administration.
McKay comes from an athletic family. His father was a standout performer at the University of New Mexico, and his brother Orlando played football at Washington and later for the Green Bay Packers.
McKay is married to the former Julie Summers. The couple is the proud parents of three children, sons Luke (3 years old), Gabriel (18 months), and daughter Ellie (7).
2000-2001 Oregon State 10-20
1999-2000 Colorado State 18-12
1998-1999 Colorado State 19-11
1997-1998 Portland State 15-12
1996-97 Portland State 9-17
1990-91 Seattle Pacific
1989-90 Queens College (NC)