MISSOULA, Mont. - After over 30 years as a men's basketball head coach, former University of Montana coach Mike Montgomery is officially done after announcing his retirement on Monday.
Montgomery spent the last six seasons at the helm for the University of California in the PAC-12 Conference. The 67-year-old coach had an up and down year with the bears this season that ended with a loss to SMU in the quarterfinals of the NIT.
Prior to his time at California, Montgomery spent 18 years at Stanford. Prior to that, he spent the first eight seasons of his head coaching career in Missoula leading the Montana Grizzlies.
"Fell in love with him right away," recalls current Griz head coach Wayne Tinkle who was recruited by Montgomery to come play at Montana in the 1980's. "You know he was a sharp guy and a very successful coach. I played my freshman year under him before he went on to move to Stanford. I remember it like yesterday, the bitterness when he left because he meant so much to this program and recruited all of us."
It's the close of a long and decorated career for Montgomery after 32 seasons as a college head coach. He ends his career with an overall record of 677-317 and took a team to the NCAA tournament 16 times in his career, 12 of those appearances coming during his 18-year stint at Stanford. His 282 career wins in the PAC-12 conference are the third most ever by a men's head coach.
"He was just a great coach, a class act and Mike never cut any corners," says Tinkle of his mentor. "You know he always did things the right way. I'm happy for him and his wife Sara because I know they are going to be able to enjoy life a little bit more than maybe they have the last 34 years."