MISSOULA – Shannon Schweyen has spent the past 27 seasons on the Lady Griz bench. She just signed up for another one.
The head coach and best player in program history inked a one-year extension to stay at Montana. The deal is currently pending Board of Regents approval.
Schweyen’s original contract ended after last season. Montana is 35-56 overall and 22-34 in Big Sky play since the long-time assistant took over for the retiring Robin Selvig three years ago. But the Lady Griz have also suffered multiple injuries to starters in all three of those seasons.
Schweyen declined to comment until the deal is official. UM Athletic Director Kent Haslam said he’s excited about the future.
“It’s no doubt the history that we have in women’s basketball here on this campus,” explained Haslam. “It’s an important part of what we do, it’s an important part of our identity when you think about that. And no one understands that better than Shannon Schweyen. She was an all-American here, she competed here, she was an assistant coach here, and no one wants that program to be successful more than her. We just need to get back to those days where we’re winning conference championships. And, really, when you evaluate a program, you really do look at it in its totality: off the court and the culture and all those types of things. I look forward to Shannon coming back next year. She’s certainly had struggles from the injury standpoint, there’s no doubt about that. You want to see a whole team, so you can get a really good evaluation of where it’s going. I’m excited for who she’s recruited and brought into this program. Women’s basketball is certainly one of our flagship programs, and so we want to make sure that we’re competing and we’re setting the bar. I don’t think anyone would dismiss that or disagree with that.”
Montana will return seven players with starting experience next season, including three that will return from season-ending injuries; guards Sophia Stiles, Taylor Goligoski and Madi Schoening.
It’s fair to call it a prove-it year for the program. With only a one-year extension, Scweyen will once again enter the final season of her contract.