After testing the waters for the second straight off-season, Travis DeCuire will return to Montana for his fifth season at the helm for his alma mater, one filled with great potential.
Earlier this week, Skyline Sports confirmed DeCuire interviewed for the head coaching opening at Colorado State. One off-season ago, he was among the top candidates to replace Cuonzo Martin at Cal.
On Wednesday, DeCuire met with Montana athletic director Kent Haslam, according to a report from Frank Gogola of the Missoulian newspaper. On Thursday, Gogola reported DeCuire has signed a 3-year contract extension that includes a $20,000 raise in base salary, various other performance incentives and an expiration date of June 30, 2021.
Multiple news outlets reported DeCuire pulled out of the Colorado State coaching search on Wednesday. CSU hired Niko Medved on Thursday. Medved spent last season at Drake and the three before that at Furman. He was an assistant on Tim Miles’ staff at CSU from 2007 until 2013.
DeCuire’s extension includes a raise from the base salary from $155,000 to $175,000 base. Because of the standard two percent raise granted to state university employees each year, DeCuire made $158,100 last season. There was a wage freeze for the 2016 fiscal year, the first of the three-year deal DeCuire signed in June of that year.
The Grizzlies just completed one of the most successful seasons in school history. DeCuire led Montana to 26 wins, the third 20-win campaign in four seasons under the direction of the former All-Big Sky Conference UM point guard. The win total fell one win shy of the school record of 27 wins set by DeCuire, Delvon Anderson and the Griz under the direction of Blaine Taylor back in 1992. DeCuire became the fastest coach in league history to post 50 conference wins.
Montana raced to a 16-2 record in league play, then pulled off three comeback wins in three days to win the Big Sky Tournament in Reno. The Big Sky postseason crown marked Montana’s 11th as a member of the Big Sky Conference and booked a ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the 11th time. The regular-season title was UM’s 10th. The trip to the Big Dance was the first for the Griz since 2013 and the first under DeCuire.
UM posted a 14-0 record at home, the first undefeated mark since the 1992 season. Junior point guard Ahmaad Rorie, a former Oregon transfer, earned first-team All-Big Sky and first-team All-District 6 honors from the National Basketball Coaches’ Association. DeCuire earned Big Sky and District 6 Coach of the Year recognition. Junior combo guard Michael Oguine was named the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year whole netting second-team all-league honors. Junior post Jamar Akoh earned third-team All-Big Sky honors in his first eligible season at UM after transferring from Cal State-Northridge.
UM returns those three all-league selection along with starter Bobby Moorehead, standout reserve Sayeed Pridgett and upstart freshman Timmy Falls. The Griz lose only forward Fabijan Krslovic.
DeCuire’s contract is pending approval from the commissioner of higher education Clay Christian. The three years is the most schools can offer in the state of Montana. The contract is expected to include guarantees for media and public promotional appearances as well as performance incentives for academic and athletic accomplishments.
Photos by Brooks Nuanez. All Rights Reserved.