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Worried about losing control of his postgame news conference, Weber State basketball coach Randy Rahe abruptly changed the subject. The growth of freshman forward Juwan Williams was a much more preferable topic than the line of questioning Rahe was dealing with Thursday night after the Wildcats' 63-50 win over Sacramento State.

Enough about him, in other words.

Rahe had just tied the Big Sky Conference career record for coaching victories in league play, which means the subject should come up again Saturday after the Wildcats host Portland State at the Dee Events Center. He also can hit the 200-win mark overall, adding to the observance. His answers probably won't change much.

"All it really means is I've been here a long time … and I've had really good players and I've had a phenomenal staff," he said.

All of those elements are factual, even if they don't serve to give Rahe enough credit. At the Big Sky level, the best coaches tend to be rising in the profession, so few of them stay at their schools long enough to collect 100 conference wins. The likes of Dick Motta, Phil Johnson, Mike Montgomery, Stew Morrill and Larry Krystkowiak have come through this league in shorter bursts than Rahe's 10 seasons at Weber State.

Some compelling numbers work against Rahe's explanation of mere longevity. The former Utah State and Utah assistant coach is 123-42 in Big Sky games. Mick Durham, the co-leader in wins, went 123-117 in 16 seasons as Montana State's coach. Rahe's .745 winning percentage ranks third in league history over 50-plus years, behind Johnson at Weber State and Kermit Davis at Idaho.

Rahe's 10-year tenure is part of the story, though. Absolutely no one would have imagined him staying this long in Ogden. As he has said, "Every once in a while as coaches, you find a perfect fit."

The Iowa native was talking about Stew Morrill, his longtime boss at Colorado State and Utah State. Morrill ended up retiring from USU after 17 seasons. Rahe, 55, is on a similar track, although no one in the Weber State administration ever becomes complacent about keeping him. There certainly could be one more job in his future, but the reasonable prediction is he'll end his career in Ogden, just as Morrill did in Logan.

Rahe has turned down some opportunities to leave and, in the case of last spring, made clear that he would not pursue Morrill's vacancy at USU. Weber State has treated him well and he has extended the Wildcats' winning history with an ability to get the most out of his players.

If there's an asterisk on Rahe's 199-111 record, it would be that only two of his teams — including the first one, in 2007 — have made the NCAA Tournament. Damian Lillard, the No. 6 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, never played in the event in his three active seasons in the program. That's the reality of competing in a one-bid league. And Rahe should get credit for doing some of his best work in 2011, after Lillard was injured.

The Wildcats went through tough times with injuries last year, and lost to Utah State, BYU and Utah Valley in nonconference play this season, but they have recovered nicely. They're 17-7 overall and 9-2 in the Big Sky, a half-game behind Montana. In the scheduling rotation, WSU plays the Grizzlies only once — Feb. 27 in Ogden. So the Wildcats are well-positioned to win Rahe's fifth conference championship and earn the No. 1 seed in the Big Sky tournament, although that distinction no longer comes with a host's berth, with the league having adopted a neutral site in Reno, Nev.

With senior Joel Bolomboy, the NCAA's No. 2 rebounder, and junior Jeremy Senglin, who's climbing the school's career scoring chart, this is one of those really good teams that come cyclically in a mid-major program. In the Weber State tradition, Rahe keeps producing more than his share of winners.

Twitter: @tribkurt —

Big Sky coaching records

Most wins (conference games only)

Coach School Years Record

Randy Rahe Weber State 2006-16 123-42

Mick Durham Montana State 1990-06 123-117

Bobby Dye Boise State 1983-95 102-76

Neil McCarthy Weber State 1975-85 99-52

Mike Adras Northern Arizona 1999-2011 99-83

Wayne Tinkle Montana 2006-14 97-39

Ron Abegglen Weber State 1991-99 86-34

Joe Cravens Idaho/Weber State 1993-96, 1999-2006 79-65

Mike Montgomery Montana 1979-86 73-39

Hank Anderson Gonzaga/Montana State 1963-74 73-65

Best winning percentages (conference games only)

Coach School Years Record Pct.

Phil Johnson Weber State 1968-71 39-5 .886

Kermit Davis Idaho 1988-90 26-6 .813

Randy Rahe Weber State 2006-16 123-42 .745

Dick Motta Weber State 1963-68 40-15 .727

Ron Abegglen Weber State 1991-99 86-34 .717

Jim Killingsworth Idaho State 1971-77 60-24 .714

Wayne Tinkle Montana 2006-14 97-39 .713

Ray Giacoletti Eastern Washington 2000-04 41-17 .707

Larry Eustachy Idaho 1990-93 32-14 .696

Larry Krystkowiak Montana 2004-06 19-9 .679