BOZEMAN — Danny Sprinkle is headed home.
The former Helena High and Montana State basketball standout was named the 23rd head men’s basketball coach at Montana State University on Thursday. Sprinkle will replace former Bobcats’ head coach Brian Fish, whose contract will not be renewed when it expires on June 30.
— Montana State Men’s Basketball (@MSUBobcatsMBB) April 4, 2019
Sprinkle is scheduled to be introduced Friday at 3 p.m. at a public meet and greet at Inspiration Hall located on the second floor of MSU’s Norm Asbjornson Hall. The University will also stream the event live on its Facebook page.
Sprinkle was a two-time all-state basketball selection at Helena High School before enjoying a hall of fame career at Montana State from 1995-1999. He played in 29 games as a freshman during the 1995-96 season, averaging 9.8 points per game. He erupted for 30 points in the Bobcats’ 81-70 win over Weber State in the Big Sky Conference championship on his way to tournament MVP honors. Sprinkle helped lead Montana State to the 1996 NCAA Tournament, the Bobcats’ last appearance in the Big Dance.
His coach at the time? Montana State’s second-winningest of all time (behind Brick Breeden) and still the Big Sky Conference’s leader in wins. Mick Durham, now head coach at MSU Billings.
“It’s great they hired a Bobcat,” Durham told MTN Sports by phone. “He definitely deserves it. He’s been in Division 1 for the last several years. I know he’s excited about the opportunity. They interviewed about eight or 10 people, so it’s not like they just handed it to him.”
Durham was in a similar position when he took over Montana State feeling additional heat and pressure suddenly in charge of his alma mater.
“You know, I don’t think there’s any question,” Durham said. “The biggest thing, and I was in the same boat, neither one of us had ever been a head coach. So, somebody asked me today if I did have any advice. It’s like, man, where do I start? I’d love to start over and do some things differently probably. But I think the biggest thing is Danny Sprinkle needs to just be Danny Sprinkle. He knows what he wants to do. He’s been looking forward to this for a long time.”
Sprinkle averaged 13.7 points per game as a sophomore, 13.5 as a junior and 16.6 as a senior during the 1998-99 season. He scored 1,497 points in his career, seventh on MSU’s all-time list. His 263 career 3-pointers are second in MSU history behind Tyler Hall, who wrapped up his illustrious career with the Bobcats’ loss to Eastern Washington in the Big Sky Conference tournament in Boise.
The 2006 MSU Hall of Fame inductee returns to Bozeman as a coach for the second time, having served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for former MSU head coach Brad Huse from 2006-08. Sprinkle began his coaching career in 2001 at Cal State Northridge and returned to the Matadors’ sideline in 2008, where he spent six years.
Sprinkle then joined the Cal State Fullerton staff in 2014, and has been an assistant with the Titans for the past six years. Fullerton won the 2017-18 Big West Tournament championship, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for only the third time in program history.
Montana State posted a record of 15-17 this season, winning its first Big Sky Conference tournament game since 2009, a 75-71 first-round victory over Idaho. The Bobcats were 65-92 during Fish’s five years at the helm.