LAMBERT -- Bill Triplett just can't stay away from the sidelines.
Triplett, a three-time state champion high school basketball coach in Montana, confirmed to MTN Sports that he is taking the Williston State College women's basketball head coaching job.
"I'd never really planned on quitting for good, but I had planned on quitting for the winter," Triplett said with a chuckle. "Tuesday I'm supposed to go in and sign my contract and then have a FaceTime meeting with the returning and incoming players, try to get them all where we can talk to each other and have a little sit-down."
Triplett's Montana legend grew during his tenure at Reed Point, where he amassed 408 victories on the girls court from 1989-2007. He won back-to-back State C titles with the newly formed Reed Point-Rapelje co-op in 2005 and 2006. Triplett also won a state title coaching Reed Point's boys in 1994.
Minot State University was Triplett's next stop, where he spent 10 years coaching basketball and softball. He returned to the Montana coaching carousel last year when he led the Savage girls to the State C tournament.
Triplett didn't coach the varsity this season, instead spending time watching his step-son in his senior year for Richey-Lambert. He had to scratch the coaching itch somehow, though, and roamed the sidelines for the junior high girls basketball team. He would also be coaching fast-pitch softball during the spring.
Williston State, an NJCAA school and member of the MonDak Conference, went 4-27 last season, including winning just one of its 14 conference games. The Lady Tetons will need to replace leading scorer and second-team all-conference selection Gabriella Capasso.
Triplett's time in both Montana and North Dakota will bode well for recruiting, which has been difficult due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"It's a late start right now. I've been on the phone nearly 20 hours a day for four days now. There's still players out there that are looking," Triplett said. "With this virus, we can't bring them in on a visit. ... All you can do is walk around with your phone and show them the locker room, gym, recreation center and the dorms. Hopefully you can get some kids signed. That's the biggest key to recruiting, I think, is to get the kid on campus, make them feel comfortable, show them around, introduce them to a teacher, introduce them to the other coaches in other sports. It's hard to ever sign a kid without having them visit."
Taking the job in Williston won't change everyday life too much for Triplett and his wife, Kara, who is the head coach of the Richey-Lambert boys basketball team. Triplett's previous job involved driving to Williston daily to pick up and deliver medical supplies to Sidney, so the commute won't be an issue.
"Kara and I bought 10 acres, there's a big crane sitting here and they're putting our brand-new house on the foundation, so we're going to be based out of Lambert," Triplett said. "The drive isn't bad, but I'm also probably going to plan on staying in Williston a few nights a week. I'll either get a place there, a small apartment, or I've got cousins there, whatever. I'll be spending a lot of time over there, but we'll be based (in Lambert). ... It's about an hour. I don't mind driving. I get my satellite radio on, and if Kara isn't with me I listen to the 60s. Driving out, all the wildlife, I just enjoy it."