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Montana announces national search for next Lady Griz coach

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Posted at 10:46 AM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 13:55:49-04

MISSOULA -- The University of Montana announced Monday morning that a national search for its next head women's basketball coach has begun.

Director of athletics Kent Haslam will lead the process and will be assisted by an eight-person search committee.

It’s the first national search for the program’s head coach since Robin Selvig was hired in June 1978. Selvig, who retired in July 2016, coached the Lady Griz for 38 years, leading them to 865 wins, 24 conference championships and 21 NCAA Tournament appearances.

Selvig was succeeded by Shannon Schweyen, who coached the Lady Griz for four seasons before her departure last spring. Mike Petrino coached the team during the 2020-21 season, guiding UM to a 12-11 overall record. The Lady Griz went 9-8 in Big Sky Conference play to secure the No. 6 seed for the league tournament. They were upset by No. 11-seeded Sacramento State, 65-58, in their first game at the tournament.

“Our intention since last spring has been to conduct a national search for the next Lady Griz head coach when the current season concluded,” said Haslam. “I appreciate the search committee helping vet candidates and find the very best leader of this storied program.”

Haslam confirmed to MTN Sports that Petrino would be a candidate for the job during this process.

The Lady Griz last won the Big Sky Conference tournament in 2015, Selvig's penultimate year leading the program. In 2015-16, Selvig's final season, Montana went 20-11 overall and ended its season in the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament.

Since then, with injuries often plaguing the team, the Lady Griz have compiled a 64-80 overall record and 43-50 mark in Big Sky play. They've won one tournament game in that span and have lost their first game of the conference tournament each of the past three seasons.

The 2020-21 Lady Griz were led on the floor by junior Abby Anderson and sophomore Carmen Gfeller, who both earned third-team all-conference honors. Gfeller averaged a team-high 14.3 points per game to go along with 5.4 rebounds per game. Anderson averaged 12.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

Sophia Stiles was third on the team with 11.7 points per game.

Madi Schoening was the only senior on the roster, though players did not use a year of eligibility by competing in the 2020-21 season by virtue of the NCAA Division I Council pausing the eligibility clock for athletes due to the coronavirus pandemic.