University of Montana women’s basketball coach Robin Selvig announces his retirement

Posted at 2:07 PM, Jul 27, 2016
Robin Selvig, head coach of the Montana Lady Grizzlies for 38 years, announced his retirement in late July. (Photo courtesy University of Montana)

MISSOULA – University of Montana women’s basketball coach Robin Selvig announced his retirement Wednesday after 38 seasons on the bench with the Lady Griz.

Selvig, who won 865 games as head coach of the Grizzlies, will conclude his time with the program on August 31. He turns 64 next month.

“Over 38 years, there weren’t many days I wasn’t excited to come to work, but I’ve started to lose that excitement,” said Selvig in a release from the University. “The players have always given me their best. When you wear down a little, you start to wonder: Can I still give them my best?

“I don’t like that question, and I don’t like that feeling. I don’t like not being fired up for next year. The players deserve me at my best, and I don’t know if I have the energy to keep doing it. There are mixed feelings, but I think the time is right.”

“This is national headlines,” said Carroll head coach Rachelle Sayers, who played against and coached against Selvig at Weber State. “As much as he’s meant to the state of Montana and girls basketball and women’s basketball at the University of Montana. This is national news. It’s breaking news. This is a job that has been occupied by the same coaching staff – him for 38 years and the assistants for over 20 years – is unbelievable.”

Selvig was in charge of 36 winning seasons, including 31 20-win seasons, 24 conference championships and 21 NCAA tournament appearances. He earned conference coach of the year an incredible 21 times.

Selvig’s programs were especially impressive in Missoula, compiling a record of 511-61 at Dahlberg Arena.

“I’ve been extremely fortunate to experience the things I have with the people I have. I’ve been blessed,” Selvig said. “Your lives become intertwined, and that’s what makes it a family. You’re invested not only in coaching them, you’re invested in them when lots of things are going on in their lives.

“Those relationships are as special to me as anything. What we shared will never change or be taken away from us. Sharing young women’s lives for four or five years, that’s where the rewards come from. I’ve been lucky I got to share that with them. It’s been special.”

The search for Selvig’s replacement is already underway, according to the University of Montana. Long-time assistant coach Shannon Cate-Schweyen, who has been with Selvig for 25 seasons, could be a favorite to land the job. Schweyen was an all-American for the Lady Griz – the only Big Sky Conference women’s basketball player to earn the honor – in 1991-1992.

“I hope that they do that,” Sayers said of the possibility of promoting Schweyen. “I think that Shannon deserves that opportunity. I mean, the only all-American in the Big Sky Conference and will be the only all-American ever from the Big Sky Conference. Just the role she’s played in recruiting and the face of Montana has been huge. I’m very hopeful that’s the direction they go.”

A press conference has been scheduled for Thursday morning at the University of Montana.