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Former Montana Grizzlies, Wyoming Cowboys hoops coach Jim Brandenburg dies at 87

Jim Brandenburg
Posted at 7:14 PM, Jun 19, 2023

BILLINGS — Former Montana and Wyoming head men's basketball coach Jim Brandenburg passed away last weekend at the age of 87, according to a University of Wyoming press release.

Brandenburg, previously a Griz assistant, served as the head coach for two seasons at Montana, taking over when previous coach Jud Heathcote departed for Michigan State following the 1975-76 season. Brandenburg's Griz had a 6-20 record in 1976-77 and were forced to forfeit 11 games due to the use of an ineligible player.

Brandenburg led the Grizzlies to a 20-9 overall record, a 12-2 mark in the Big Sky and a regular-season conference title during the 1977-78 season. After winning a share of the league's coach of the year award, Brandenburg left for Wyoming and was replaced at UM by Mike Montgomery.

In nine seasons at Wyoming, Brandenburg coached the Cowboys to four Western Athletic Conference championships, three regular-season and one WAC tournament title and three NCAA tournaments, including a Sweet 16 run in 1987. The Cowboys were the NIT runners-up in 1986.

Brandenburg had a 176-97 record at Wyoming, then moved on to coach at San Diego State from 1987-88 until 1991-92. Brandenburg's overall record in 16 seasons as a college head coach was 254-213, a winning percentage of .544.

Brandenburg was born on Dec. 10, 1935. Per a University of Wyoming press release, he is survived by his daughter Shannon and his son Bart, and was preceded in death by his wife Jan. No information on arrangements regarding a memorial for Brandenburg were immediately available.

"Coach Brandenburg and his family made an enormous impact on this state and this university," stated Tom Burman, University of Wyoming athletic director, in a press release. "He built a national brand during his time at Wyoming. He has touched so many players and staff and our thoughts and prayers are with Shannon, Bart and the Brandenburg family."