MISSOULA -- Missoula Sentinel High School announced Jason Maki as the new head coach of the boy's basketball program on Monday.
Maki has spent the past 25 years coaching in Oregon at Sandy and Beaverton high schools. He was named the 2012-13 Northwest Conference Coach of the Year in Oregon and is Sandy High School's career leader in wins.
"The hard part and the beauty part of coaching is you might know a lot but you don't know anything," said Maki. "I'm a guy who's always trying to get better every year. I've both spoken at clinics and taking a lot of notes at clinics. I'm in a good place in my career, I am still young enough to have great energy, my kids like I said are seven, they keep me young. I still try to play basketball every once in a while. 25 years of doing this so 25 journeys. Every season is a journey so I've had 25 of them so that's pretty sweet."
While he's been in Oregon for a while, he's coming back home. Maki is a Sentinel alum and will also join the high school as a social studies teacher.
"We just kind of started going through the steps and it led us to right here," said Maki. "We're very excited to become part of one community and I just loved growing up in Missoula, so I hope my kids can have the same experience that I did."
The Spartans were seeking a new boys basketball coach after Jay Jagelski stepped down earlier this spring. Jagelski coached the Sentinel boys for eight seasons, leading the program to the Class AA state tournament five times.
"From everything I've seen and heard and talked to some of the kids, it's a very talented group with a lot of height and length and athleticism," said Maki. "It sounds like a really fun group to tinker with and have some fun with and you see what happens."
In the past few years, the Spartans have had solid teams that have looked good in the regular season but have faltered in the playoffs. Maki said every season comes with ups and downs, but he knows this group can be special.
"Every year the goal is to get better and better throughout the season so you play the best basketball at the end of the season," he said. "If that's something that can happen with that talented of a group, who knows what can happen?"