SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) _ Washington State assistant Mike Burns was hired Thursday as the basketball coach at Eastern Washington, returning to the school where he once worked.

Burns replaces Ray Giacoletti, who was hired by Utah after leading the Eagles to their first NCAA tournament appearance.

``He set the bar at Eastern Washington at a pretty high level,'' Burns said. ``We will keep that bar at that level.''

Burns was Giacoletti's assistant from 2000-03 and recruited many of the current Eagles players. He joined Washington State coach Dick Bennett before last season.

Burns agreed to a four-year contract with a base salary of $82,500 a year, athletic director Scott Barnes said.

Burns previously was an assistant at Highline Community College, Central Washington and Stephen F. Austin.

Giacoletti was 69-50 in four seasons at Eastern Washington. He took the Eagles to the Big Sky Conference tournament title game in each of his four seasons and had a 41-17 league mark.

This season, the Eagles won the league's regular-season title, then clinched an NCAA berth by beating Northern Arizona in the championship game.

In the first round, the Eagles were tied at halftime with eventual Final Four participant Oklahoma State before losing 75-56. They finished 17-13.

Giacoletti replaces Rick Majerus, who took the Utes to 10 NCAA tournaments and the 1998 national title game but resigned in January because of poor health.