Travis DeCuire Introduced as New Grizzly Head Basketball Coach [VIDEO] [AUDIO]
In a quiet way, without fanfare, history was made in Montana sports on Monday afternoon.
University of California Assistant, and former Grizzly great Travis DeCuire, was named the 27th head men's basketball coach in University of Montana history, but what no one mentioned at DeCuire's introductory press conference was that he was also the first African American head coach in Division One Montana sports history. When asked about the distinction, Haslam confirmed the information, but downplayed its importance.
"I know that here at the University of Montana, yes, he is the first African American head coach in our school history," Haslam said. "It's certainly a monumental thing to happen here, but that's not the reason that Travis was hired. His credentials are unmatched, and I'm really excited for him to be our new head coach."
In his introductory remarks, Haslam praised DeCuire's background and depth of coaching experience, and that the moment he met DeCuire, Haslam knew he was the right man for the job.
"I identified Travis right away as a very strong candidate very early in the process," Haslam said. "I can tell you folks, the more I listened to him, the more impressed I became. Every minute, I came to understand that this was our guy."
DeCuire said his coaching history went all the way back to 1990, when he was recruited to Montana by Blaine Taylor.
"Now that I got back here to Missoula, I thought about it and you know what? This journey started in the summer of 1990 when Blaine Taylor recruited me here," DeCuire said. "I thought he was just recruiting me to a winning program, but it's bigger than that. When you look at the people that I'm following, the coaching tree, we're talking Hall-of-Famers, we're talking champions, whether they won it here or at their next stop."
DeCuire mentioned Jud Heathcote, Jim Brandenburg, Mike Montgomery, Stew Morrill, and Blaine Taylor, along with DeCuire's predecessor Wayne Tinkle, now head coach at Oregon State.
"If I could just be almost as good as the guys who came before me, I feel like we'll have a successful program, and that it will be in the right hands from this point forward," DeCuire said.
DeCuire played for Montana in the 1990's, still holds the record for assists in a single season.
Toward the end of the press conference, Haslam revealed that Montana would be playing DeCuire's previous team, the Cal Golden Bears in December, a chance to revisit old friends, with his new team.
Introductory Remarks For New Head Coach Travis DeCuire
University of Montana Athletic Director Kent Haslam