Bill Evans with bench.jpg

ISU head coach Bill Evans, standing, walks the sideline near the team’s bench during this year’s Big Sky Conference tournament at CenturyLink Arena in Boise.

POCATELLO — Bill Evans' run as Idaho State's men's basketball coach has come to an end.

Evans, who led the Bengals for seven seasons, will not return for an eighth. ISU Athletic Director Pauline Semons Thiros announced Tuesday that she will not renew Evans' contract, which expires in May.

Evans' win-loss record at ISU was 71-141.

“Coach Evans is an exceptional person, and I have a great deal of respect for him," Semons Thiros said in an ISU-issued news release. "He has done so many things we can be proud in our Bengal basketball program. I am grateful for the fine young men Bill brought to Idaho State, and the manner in which he has guided them. This was an extremely difficult decision, but at the end of the day, we have to do everything possible to give our student-athletes a chance to be competitive on the court, as well as off.”

Evans' final season at Idaho State concluded with an 11-19 record and a first-round loss in the Big Sky Conference tournament. ISU never won a postseason game under Evans and owns the Big Sky's longest active postseason winless streak (2009).

Bengals' season-ending loss a microcosm of underachieving this season

ISU's lone season with a winning record under Evans came in 2015-16, when the Bengals went 16-15 and finished fourth in the Big Sky standings. Evans earned Big Sky and NABC District 6 Coach of the Year honors following the regular season.

The following season, ISU lost a school-record 26 games, going 6-26.

Semons Thiros praised Evans for the integrity with which he ran ISU's men's basketball program. But, she said, the lack of on-court success led to Evans' dismissal.

"We want to be very good and have a lot of integrity on both sides of the equation," Semons Thiros said during Tuesday's press conference at Holt Arena. "We have a great obligation to our student-athletes to be doing everything that we can to make them successful and have the opportunity to be competitive in the Big Sky Conference on the court."

ISU's Big Sky record under Evans was 46-83. The Bengals finished last or second to last in the league standings five times during his seven seasons.

Bill Evans Portland State

Idaho State coach Bill Evans points to his bench during a game against Portland State on Jan. 18, 2018 at Reed Gym.

Semons Thiros will begin a national search for Evans' replacement. She said Evans' assistant coaches have not been placed on leave, as their contracts run through June. Semons Thiros did not specify whether Evans' assistants would be considered to replace Evans.

"We need their help and support in this transition, and certainly a new head coach should have the opportunity to meet them and get to know them and evaluate them and possibly create some cohesion in a transition by considering them as part of the staff," Semons Thiros said. "That will absolutely be up to a new head coach."

National search begins for new men's basketball coach at Idaho State

Evans coached six players who earned all-Big Sky recognition, including one first-team selection — Ethan Telfair in 2016. He leaves a stocked cupboard for his predecessor, as ISU's projected roster next season includes eight rising seniors and all five of ISU's primary starters from this past season.

"The players here love coach Evans," Semons Thiros said. "However, there was some frustration there. They feel that we underperformed this year and they want very much to do better and to be placed in a position strategically and tactically to win more games."

Off the court, Evans graduated all 18 of his seniors and his teams regularly boasted a 3.0 GPA or better, according to the ISU-issued release. Following the 2017-18 season, ISU was one of 41 Division I programs to have a GPA of 3.0 or better. That year, Evans' team was one of 12 to have five players or more recognized by the NABC Honors Court for academic excellence.

Evans was not made available for comment Tuesday.

"I think Bill will do very well in whatever he chooses (to do next)," Semons Thiros said. "I sure do wish him well, because I really, really like and respect Bill Evans."

Bill Evans coaching 2019 Big Sky tournament

ISU coach Bill Evans, center, talks to his players during this year's Big Sky Conference tournament game at CenturyLink Arena in Boise.