Coaching veteran rejoins MSU hoops staff

BOZEMAN – Shawn Dirden’s first tenure as an assistant basketball coach at Montana State ended in the spring of 2008, but his relationship with Bobcat head coach Brad Huse didn’t. The mutual admiration between the two again moved into the professional sphere Wednesday, when Huse hired Dirden as a Bobcat assistant coach.

“Having to hire a coach at this time of year is not ideal,” Huse said, “but we came out of this in good shape with the addition of Coach Dirden. His background and experience at MSU will allow him to hit the ground running. In addition, he has the ability to generate relationships quickly and I know the players will respond to him positively.”

Dirden fills the position vacated by George Pfeifer, who left college coaching to join his wife in Spokane earlier this summer. A former University of Idaho standout, Dirden joined Huse’s first MSU staff in 2006, remaining for two seasons. Dirden coached at Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora, Colo., from 2008-11, and for the past two seasons served as an assistant at the University of South Dakota.

“Shawn is a well-rounded coach and is about the person first,” Huse said. “That showed in the positive relationships he had with our team during his first couple of years at MSU. He’s very good on the floor and I know firsthand the positive impact he had in the development of some of the better perimeter players we’ve had during my time here, guys like Carlos Taylor and Erik Rush.”

Dirden graduated from Idaho in 1997, capping a fine two-year career with the Vandals during UI’s final two seasons in the Big Sky. He earned that school’s Chris White Sportsmanship Award as a senior, finishing his college career in the Big Sky Tournament in Worthington Arena, and was also an All-Region 9 player at Otero Junior College. Dirden played professionally overseas until 2002.

After his playing career, Dirden became head coach at George Washington High School in Denver, before working for one season as an assistant at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa in 2005-06.

Dirden, whose father Johnnie Dirden played in the NFL, and his wife Sierra, have two children.

“Coach Dirden is well-liked in Bozeman and around the University,” Huse said, “and I’m excited he is bringing his young family back to Bozeman. I know they share that excitement.”

– MSU Sports Information