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MSU Billings' Mick Durham, longtime Montana coaching staple, retiring after 41 seasons

Posted at 11:36 AM, Mar 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-29 14:41:47-04

BILLINGS — Montana State Billings men's basketball coach Mick Durham announced his retirement on Wednesday.

Durham, now 66 and a predominant figure in basketball across the Treasure State for decades, steps away after 41 years in coaching. This past season was his 30th as a head coach, a year in which he guided MSUB to 20 wins for the first time in 17 years and a berth in the NCAA Division II West Regional for the first time since 2012.

"I'd like to thank former AD Krista Montague for the opportunity she gave me here at MSUB five years ago, and also current AD Mike Bazemore and administrative staff for all their support and help," Durham stated in a press release announcing his retirement. "It's been a thrill for me to come back to my home state and finish out my coaching career.

"I also would like to thank my two full-time assistants Bobby Howard my first two years and Luke Fennelly the last three years for all the work and loyalty they showed during my MSUB tenure. Lastly, thanks to the players that played here the last five years and all the work they put in on and off the court to make MSUB proud. I'm excited to be leaving MSUB after a good season and a NCAA tournament berth and solid momentum for the future."

Durham began his coaching career in 1980 with a two-year stint at Shepherd High School, then spent spent 24 seasons at Montana State, his alma mater, including 16 years as the Bobcats' head coach (1990-2005) where he went 246-213 while winning Big Sky Conference coach of the year three times. He guided MSU to the NCAA tournament in 1996.

After stepping down from MSU, Durham served as an assistant at New Mexico State from 2008-11, then returned to head coaching at Alaska Fairbanks in the D-II Great Northwest Athletic Conference, winning 92 games. He came back to the Treasure State as the head coach at MSUB, where he went 59-56 overall, 39-36 in the GNAC and was named the league's coach of the year three times.

Durham accumulated 397 coaching wins and five coach of the year awards in his career.

"Mick's career speaks for itself, a true testament to his skill level and the ability to adapt to the constantly changing landscape of men's basketball," Bazemore stated in the MSUB release. "His experience was instrumental in not only reshaping our program, but putting us in a position for success after his retirement.

"I've enjoyed working with Mick over the past two years and I wish nothing but the best for him and his family in this next chapter of his journey."

Durham was a star guard at Three Forks, where he helped the Wolves to a state championship in 1974. He went on to play at Montana State from 1975-1980, appearing in 87 games and becoming one of the program's all-time leaders in assists and free throw shooting.