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Former Montana State player, coach Danny Sprinkle named Washington Huskies coach

NCAA TCU Utah St Basketball
Posted at 10:39 AM, Mar 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-25 14:28:36-04

Former Montana State player and coach Danny Sprinkle will be the next men's basketball coach at the University of Washington, the university announced Monday.

Sprinkle spent the 2023-24 season at Utah State, leading the Aggies to the first outright Mountain West Conference regular-season championship in program history and a No. 8 seed for the NCAA tournament. Utah State defeated TCU in the first round Friday, the program's first tournament win since 2001.

Utah State's season came to an end Sunday with a 106-67 loss to No. 1 seed Purdue in the second round. The Aggies were 28-7, as Sprinkle was named the Mountain West Conference coach of the year. He's a finalist for the national coach of the year honor.

“I want to express my sincere gratitude to (Washington) President (Ana Mari) Cauce and the athletic department leadership for entrusting me to lead the men’s basketball program at this world-class institution,” Sprinkle said in a Washington news release.

“It was going to take something special for me to leave (Utah State), and the University of Washington was it. The university means a great deal to our family and I am excited to return to my home state. With a strong commitment to excellence and incredible fan support, we will recruit exceptional young men who will take pride in wearing the purple and gold, who will win championships and who will leave UW with an impressive degree. I am excited to get started and to be a part of such a special place.”

The hiring at Washington completes a rapid ascension for Sprinkle, who was an assistant coach at Cal State Fullerton just five years ago.

Sprinkle got his first head coaching job with Montana State for the 2019-20 season. In his first year, Sprinkle coached the Bobcats to their first winning season in 10 years. In each of the three following seasons, Sprinkle guided MSU to the Big Sky Conference tournament championship game, winning titles in 2022 and 2023 to secure berths in the NCAA tournament.

In his four years as Montana State's head coach, Sprinkle compiled an 81-43 overall record.

Sprinkle was an assistant coach at MSU from 2006-08 under Brad Huse. In addition to his time at Cal State Fullerton, Sprinkle's coaching career also includes stints on the staffs at Cal State Northridge.

As a player, Sprinkle was part of a Bobcats team that won Big Sky regular-season and tournament championships in 1996. He was the Big Sky freshman of the year that season and an all-conference selection the ensuing three seasons.

Sprinkle graduated with MSU's career and single-season 3-point records and remains ninth in program history in career points (1,497).

Sprinkle graduated from Helena High School, where he was a two-time all-state basketball player. He was born in Washington after his father, Bill Sprinkle, played defensive back at the University of Washington in the 1960s.

The Huskies were looking for a new head coach after former director of athletics Troy Dannen announced Mike Hopkins would not return for an eighth season as Washington's coach. The Huskies lost to USC in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference tournament to finish the season 17-15.

Dannen has since left Washington to become the director of athletics at Nebraska. The Huskies have not yet announced Dannen's successor, but interim director of athletics Erin O'Connell announced Sprinkle's hiring.

“Simply put, coach Sprinkle is a winner,” O’Connell said in a news release. “He won as a high school player, as a collegiate student-athlete, as an assistant coach, and then at both stops as a head coach, including the recent regular-season conference championship at Utah State.

"But beyond his coaching acumen is his ability to connect with student-athletes, develop them into outstanding young men and basketball players and embrace the community around him. Coach is exactly what our program needs at this moment in time and we are thrilled to have him take the reins of our men’s basketball program.”

The 2024-25 academic year will be Washington's first in the Big Ten Conference.