DILLON – In just a couple days, the college basketball season will begin and all the teams in the Frontier Conference are getting ready. Among them is Montana Western, which ended 2017 with a loss in the national quarterfinals. The Bulldogs lost a lot of talent in the offseason, but the team believes that another trip to the NAIA tournament is in clear sight.
“That’s what Western is, regardless of who the coach is or who the players are, year in and year out our goal is to make it to that national tournament,” said senior guard Kooper Kidgell. “We got a lot of new guys, so there’s going to have to be some people who step up, but that’s what college basketball is about, kids who can step up and play.”
A new season for Montana Western also brings in a new head coach. Mike Larsen replaces Steve Keller on the bench, but Larsen said he’s going to have his guys ready for whoever they step up against on the court.
“I want to be a team when you come to Western or you come to play at Western, too, know that you’re going to have to fight us for 40 minutes. And if we do that, I believe we can have a very successful season,” said Larsen.
It seems that Montana Western made the right choice in hiring Larsen to take over the reins of the program. He’s done every aspect of coaching so far in his young career, from scouting to recruiting to game-plan decisions. The Bulldogs have added much-needed experience to a young squad.
“In South Dakota, that’s where I came from, I was an assistant there for eight seasons, so I had a lot of experience running a program,” added Larsen.
And the way he will run the Bulldogs’ basketball program is by making sure his athletes are great not only on the court, but off it, as well.
Larsen finished off by saying that he wants his team to become great at everything they do.
“One thing I preach, I don’t want great basketball players, I want great people who are also great basketball players,” Larsen said.