MISSOULA — Travis DeCuire was formally introduced as the University of Montana’s 27th men’s head basketball coach today at a press conference in the Max & Betty Swanson Grizzly Sky Club, located in UM’s Adams Center/Dahlberg Arena.
DeCuire was initially named the Grizzlies’ new mentor on Saturday UM’s Director of Athletics Kent Haslam on Saturday, June 30.
This past season DeCuire, a former standout point guard for the Grizzlies, completed his sixth season on the University of California coaching staff and his second as the Golden Bears’ associate head coach.
Regarded as one of the top mentors in the game, DeCuire helped former Cal (and Montana) mentor Mike Montgomery transform Cal into one of the winningest programs in the Pac-12 Conference during his time in Berkeley. The Bears reached the postseason all six years he was on the staff.
“It’s a great opportunity for Travis, and the folks in Missoula and the state of Montana are going to love him,” said Montgomery via a phone interview today, and who is currently on a vacation in the West Indies. “He so excited to have te opportunity to be a head coach. He is very prepared; he’s very anxious; and he will work his tail off for you guys.
“He understands the game and what we did at Montana, and what the things that we kind of passed down from our years there,” Montgomery said. “He played there, and he understands all of that stuff. He’s going to obviously run his own program, but I am sure he’ll use some of those things that we passed down to him from our stint with the Griz.
“He knows the city and he knows the university,” Montgomery said. “He’s got a lot of pride in the fact that he’s a Griz. He knows what you watch out for in regards to the players. He’s great with families. He’s a real people-person. He cares about the kids; he ran a foundation in Washington; and he’s going to make sure that his players graduate. He will also make sure his players stay on track. He’s going to be very good for those young kids.”
Before his six-year stint at Cal, he spent five seasons as an assistant coach to former Griz head coach and player Blaine Taylor at Old Dominion, where he helped the Monarchs to a combined record of 117-53. The mark included 94 wins his final four years – the most in school history over a four-year stretch. ODU reached the postseason each of those four years as well, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in both 2005 and 2007.
In addition, the Monarchs reached the National Invitation Tournament semifinals in 2006 and the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational in 2008. ODU’s best overall record came in 2004-05 when the Monarch’s finished 28-6 overall. They also won 24 games each of the next two seasons, posting marks of 24-10 in 2006 and 24-9 in ’07.
DeCuire, from Seattle, has head coaching experience from stints at Sammamish High School and Green River Community College in Washington.
Prior to joining the staff at Old Dominion, he had two successful years as head coach at Green River Community College in Seattle. After taking over a last-place program in 2001-02, DeCuire guided the team to a conference championship and its first 20-win season in over 20 years, earning league Coach of the Year honors in 2003 to cap off his second season.
“I am excited to have Travis return to the University of Montana and lead the Griz men’s basketball program,” Haslam said in an earlier press release. “I identified Travis as a very strong candidate early in the search process. The more time I spent with him understanding his vision not only for our program, but for the student-athletes he will mentor, the more impressed I became with him as a person and as a coach. I know Griz fans join me in welcoming Travis, his wife Sabrina, and their daughters Brianna and Tamia to the Missoula community.”
DeCuire earlier served as head coach at Sammamish High School in Bellevue, leading the school to two conference titles, a state tournament appearance and three consecutive trips to the district tournament.
As a point guard for Montana from 1992-94 DeCuire was named All-Big Sky Conference as a junior and senior. He set a school record in just three seasons with 435 career assists. He also established UM’s single-season mark with 199 assists as a senior in 1993-94, when he was ranked 12th in the nation, averaging 7.1 assists a game.
He was the recipient of the Grizzlies’ Carl Dragstedt Award (MVP) as a junior (he shared it with forward Matt Kempfert that season) and senior, and received the John Eaheart Award (Outstanding Defensive Player) following his senior year.
As a freshman at Chaminade-Hawaii he was a starter and team MVP in 1990. He then transferred to Montana and redshirted in 1991. He attended Mercer Island High School (Wash.), where he was a three-year starter and all-state, team MVP, and a McDonald’s All-America honorable mention pick as a senior.
He has a strong commitment to community service, and founded and acted as president of the Fastbreak Basketball Association, an organization that assists in teaching life lessons and building self-esteem through basketball to more than 500 students in the Seattle-Tacoma area. In addition, he has extensive experience in counseling with the Echo Glen Children’s Center in Snoqualmie, Wash., from 1996-98 and with the Ryther Children’s Center in North Seattle from 1995-97.
DeCuire graduated from Montana in 1994 with a degree in business marketing. He and his wife, Sabrina, have two daughters; Brianna (21) and Tamia (3). Travis’ birth date is Nov. 21, 1970
— Montana Sports Information