May 31, 2014, 3:48 PM EDT
After losing Wayne Tinkle to the head coaching vacancy at Oregon State, Montana will look to hire an alum to lead its men’s basketball program.
According to a report Friday by Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com the school was expected to hire former Cal associate head coach Travis DeCuire as its new head coach, and on Saturday the school announced that the hire is official. DeCuire, who played at Montana from 1991-94, was a member of Mike Montgomery’s staff at Cal for the last seven years before Montgomery announced his decision to retire.
“I am excited to have Travis return to the University of Montana and lead the Griz men’s basketball program,” Montana athletic director Kent Haslam said in the release. “I identified Travis as a very strong candidate early in the search process. The more time I spent with him understanding his vision not only for our program, but for the student-athletes he will mentor, the more impressed I became with him as a person and as a coach.
“I know Griz fans join me in welcoming Travis, his wife Sabrina, and their daughters Brianna and Tamia to the Missoula community.”
Under Tinkle, Montana finished with a losing record just once (2007-08), winning 17 games or more in each of his other seven seasons as head coach. The Grizzlies, who finished last season in a three-way tie for second place in the Big Sky. Montana will have to account for the graduation of guard/forward Kareem Jamar, and third-leading scorer Keron DeShields made the decision to transfer.
Given his status as an alumnus of the school DeCuire is obviously familiar with Montana basketball, and he was a highly productive player for the Grizzlies. DeCuire earned All-Big Sky honors in each of his final two seasons, and he’s still the program’s all-time leader in assists.
During his time at Cal DeCuire worked primarily with the perimeter players, a group that over the years included Jerome Randle, Jorge Gutierrez and Allen Crabbe (all three won conference Player of the Year honors during their respective careers).
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