BUTTE — The banner that the Montana Tech men's basketball team unveiled at the HPER Complex marked a significant turnaround for a program that for decades had struggled to find success.
In his first season at the helm, Oredigger head coach Adam Hiatt saw his squad collect a single Frontier Conference victory. On Wednesday evening, his team celebrated consecutive regular season and tournament titles.
But for all the milestones Tech reached last season — including its highest-ever ranking and deepest postseason run — Hiatt feels even greater things are ahead of this program.
"We feel like we left a little bit on the table last year," said Hiatt. "We're getting healthy. We're looking forward to a really good season this year."
And with Tech set to begin preseason play at home against Portland Bible College on Oct. 27, the Orediggers' objective for this upcoming campaign is evident — win a third straight conference crown.
Still, seeing a pair of banners hanging side by side that were earned just a year apart was a special sight.
"It was pretty beautiful seeing two of them up there," Hiatt said. "It's been a lot of hard work. It's a testament to all the guys' efforts these last couple years."
Tech's preseason slate will see them face Montana on Dec. 8 in Missoula for an exhibition game. The last time the two programs faced in 2019 saw the NAIA Orediggers upset the Grizzlies 74-72. Hiatt feels his team has more depth than the squad that stunned Montana in their last meeting, but he also recognizes that there's a lot more experience on the Griz roster as well.
"(Montana) has a lot of guys that are third, fourth, fifth year in college so it's gonna be a different game," Hiatt said. "We're definitely looking forward to that challenge."