Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Brian Fish Named Montana State Coach

This happened last week, but I was out of town so wasn't able to write about it. Montana State moved quickly to hire a new head coach, hiring Oregon assistant coach Brian Fish.

Fish comes to MSU after four seasons on Dana Altman's staff at the University of Oregon, a period in which the Ducks compiled 96 wins, including three in the NCAA Tournament, and advanced to the post-season each year. He spent the previous six seasons (2004-10 as assistant coach), and eight years overall (including 1994-96 as video coordinator), on Altman's staff at Creighton, and was also assistant coach (2003-04) and associate head coach (2004-05) at San Diego, and assistant coach (1996-2002) on Billy Tubbs' staff at TCU.
He has never been a head coach, but was an assistant under Dana Altman for a long time. Altman's excellent track record suggests that he is an excellent to learn from in terms of how to have success and build a program.

The most interesting thing to me always is what style of play a new coach has, and Fish answered that in an FAQ on Montana State's site.

What style will the Bobcats play? My simple answer to that has been whatever style will win us a game. Each team is different, and the great thing is that as a program we can evolve each year. Ideally I'd like to play up tempo, but we'll see what this team's strengths are and go from there.
A common complaint about former coach Brad Huse was that he was stuck in his system, and did not do a good job of adapting to the personnel he had. To that end, Fish's response about using whatever style will win has to be music to the ears of the program.

It's always tough to predict how a new coach will do, but Fish has the pedigree to be a very solid coach, including recruiting ties to the Pacific Northwest and California, from his time at Oregon, and at San Diego earlier in his career. That is essential for success in the Big Sky. If he can turn some things around, MSU has a very solid recruiting base, and I think the program would respond very well to a winner. Time will tell if Fish is the guy to provide that.

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