PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State has fired basketball coach Ernie Kent after five seasons, according to a person with knowledge of the decision.

Washington State University Director of Athletics Pat Chun put out a statement Thursday saying:

I met with Ernie earlier today and let him know I would be making a change in the leadership of our basketball program,” said Chun. “We appreciate all that Ernie has done for Washington State but at this time we need a new direction to energize our fan base and return the program to prominence. I am optimistic that our returning students-athletes give us an immediate opportunity to move our program in a positive trajectory.

Kent will be paid out in full per his contract term. He will receive $1.4 million for the next three years. 

Kent was unable to turnaround the program in his second stint as a head coach in the Pac-12. The Cougars were 58-98 in Kent's five seasons in charge in Pullman. They went 11-21 this season, which concluded with an 84-51 loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday night.

Kent had three years remaining on his contract and will be paid $4.2 million as part of his firing.