(Editor's note: University of Montana media release)
MISSOULA -- Calling the move a “slam dunk,” new Montana women’s basketball coach Brian Holsinger added the first piece to his staff recently, and it’s a familiar name and face.
Jordan Sullivan, who has both played and coached for the Lady Griz, with family ties to the program that go deeper than that, will remain as an assistant coach.
“Jordan is exactly what I was looking for as we build the staff. It’s just a bonus she was already here,” said Holsinger. “She embodies what we want in Lady Griz coaches, recruits and players. She’s passionate, she’s smart, she’s driven, she’s super talented and she’s really competitive.”
Sullivan’s mom, Sandy, played for the Lady Griz for three seasons in the late 1970s and early 80s. Her uncle is Robin Selvig, who coached Montana to 24 conference championships and 865 wins over 38 years before retiring after the 2015-16 season.
“One of the special things about Jordan is seeing the passion she has for this program and what this program has meant to her,” said Holsinger. “She truly, deeply loves this program, and she’s really committed to making it great. There is nothing she wants more because of how it impacted her during an important time of her life.”
Sullivan, who played for the Lady Griz from 2010-11 to 2013-14, was a member of Montana teams that won 81 games over four years and the 2012-13 Big Sky Conference regular-season championship.
Montana advanced to the NCAA Tournament her freshman and junior years and the WNIT her senior season when Sullivan was voted second-team all-Big Sky. She was four times named academic all-Big Sky.
She played professionally in Denmark in 2014-15 and in Luxembourg in 2015-16.
“Jordan is high character and a really good person,” Holsinger said. “She’s a role model. I have two daughters. Who do I want them to be around? Who do I want them to look up to? Someone like that.
“Because she has won championships, played in the NCAA Tournament and went on to play professionally, she’ll be able to mentor the young women we’ll have here, which is really important.”
Sullivan is the first of three assistant coaches Holsinger will add to his new staff.
“As a staff, you spend a lot of time around each other, so you’d better want to be around them, and Jordan is somebody you want to be around,” said Holsinger. “She’s humble, she works hard, and she’s a great relationship builder, and that’s going to make her a fantastic recruiter.”
After her playing career overseas, Sullivan returned to the Lady Griz in 2016-17 as the program’s director of basketball administration. She spent the past four years as an assistant coach.
“I love this program and the people in it,” said Sullivan. “I want to be able to help this program through change that can be really hard.
“Brian is down-to-earth, high character and a leader, and that’s really important in the person you work for. He’s excited to be here and gung-ho about where he sees this program going.
"He’s fired up and I’m fired up. There is a shared excitement to win and be successful and give people a really well-rounded experience here beyond playing basketball.”