BROADVIEW — Numerous stops have prepared Kyle Erickson his for next coaching venture
Erickson has enjoyed a successful and well-traveled basketball career before the age of 30. The Broadview native and Montana Western graduate was recently named the assistant women’s basketball coach at Division III Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore.
Erickson has had numerous stops on his way to Pacific University, but it began with his playing career at Western under Steve Keller. Erickson was named an NAIA all-American following his senior season in 2012, when Montana Western made the Sweet 16 of the NAIA National Tournament, the third straight appearance for the Bulldogs.
Following the conclusion of his playing days, Erickson spent one season as an assistant to the Montana Western women’s team before accepting an assistant position with the Miles Community College men’s basketball team. After two seasons, Erickson then moved on to Rocky Mountain College as an assistant to the women’s team. In 2016 after one season at Rocky, Erickson moved to Italy to play and coach professional basketball.
Erickson spent just eight months, one full season, in Italy, but learned a tremendous amount about teaching and coaching the game of basketball.
“When I went to Italy, I just had to learn a completely new basketball system. It was good for me to kind of start to think outside the box,” he said. “They teach basketball completely different over there. I think it helped me as a coach as far as the way I think about the game and especially the way I approach it. There were some things over there I had never seen before, so it was a good learning experience.”
Erickson’s workload in Italy was extensive. In Parma, he coached male U-16 and U-18 teams, while also helping coach the U-13 and U-14 girls teams. Following his time coaching, Erickson would travel by train to Fidenza, where he would practice with his professional club team, Fulgor Fidenza.
“It starts with Mini Basket, which is little kids. I’d do one session of those every week where I’d be the only coach. They’d want me to basically just speak English, so those sessions were a circus,” Erickson laughed. “Over (in Italy) it’s learning a whole new system. … The biggest thing, I think, is just being able to adapt and adjust on the fly.”
After spending a full season overseas in Italy, Erickson returned to Montana to continue his coaching career. Erickson spent the past season at MSU Billings as an assistant to the men’s team before former Montana Western graduate Alecia Wilson came calling with an offer at Pacific University.
Wilson was a four-year starter on the women’s team at Western, where she and Erickson’s playing days overlapped. Wilson spent the previous four years as an assistant women’s coach at Whitworth University.
“(Wilson) got the job, was looking for an assistant, and had heard I was looking for a full-time job,” Erickson said of how he got his new gig. “The big opportunity for me is to get out of Montana. The only time I’ve left is when I went to Italy. College is so much about recruiting now and having those recruiting connections. … This is a good opportunity to build recruiting connections as well as meeting new people and coaches.”
Erickson will begin his tenure with Pacific University in early August.