Montana assistant named Montana State coach

BOZEMAN, Mont. -- University of Montana assistant Brad Huse, who said he wants to return Montana State basketball to the success it had in the mid-1990s, was named coach Tuesday by athletic director Peter Fields.

"The timing is right," said Huse, who was an assistant to Mick Durham from 1994-96 and a former head coach at Jamestown College in North Dakota. "I'm excited to get back to Montana State and lead the program to new heights. This program has enjoyed success, and I know what Bobcat basketball means to people in Bozeman and around the state."

When Huse was a Bobcat assistant, the team posted a 42-17 record and won the 1996 Big Sky Conference championship. MSU lost to Syracuse in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

"He is energetic and personable, has an intimate knowledge of the Big Sky Conference and understands what it means to coach at Montana State," Fields said. "He knows our tradition and had a hand in building that tradition.

"An exhaustive process pointed to Brad as the best fit for us, and I'm pleased to welcome Brad back to the Bobcat basketball program," Fields said.

The other two finalists for the post were Larry Gipson, head coach at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma, and Bill Johnson, an assistant at San Francisco.

Huse was an assistant at Montana for the past two seasons, as the Grizzlies posted a 42-20 overall record. Montana won the Big Sky Conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament both years. The Grizzlies won their first NCAA Tournament game in 31 years this season, beating Nevada in the first round.

The Missoula native played basketball at Montana Tech, earning NAIA All-America honors as a senior. He was an assistant at Tech from 1991-94 before coming to Montana State.

Huse then coached for eight years at Jamestown College, posting a 184-60 record and taking the Jimmies to the NAIA tournament four times. His final year, Jamestown was ranked first in NAIA Division II all season and set a school record with a 30-3 overall record.

He joined the Montana coaching staff when Larry Krystkowiak was named head coach in May 2004.

During his interview, Huse said he would use the same formula in Bozeman that took Jamestown to the top of the NAIA. He said his teams would have solid fundamentals, a frenetic defense and strong rebounding and would work together as a team.

When asked about possible assistants, Huse said former Bobcat guard and Cal State Northridge assistant Danny Sprinkle was on his short list. When Durham announced his retirement on March 6 after 16 seasons as head coach, he suggested that MSU consider Sprinkle for the head coaching job.

Huse said he planned to interview the current MSU assistants on Wednesday.

Huse has an engineering degree from Montana Tech and a master's degree in education from Montana State. He and his wife, Kelly, have three sons: Adam, 9; Drew, 5; and Ty, 2.