MISSOULA — The Montana men’s basketball team will forgo having a director of basketball operations on its staff for the second consecutive season, head coach Travis DeCuire told 406mtsports.com.
The Griz will instead have graduate student managers pitch in with some of the duties performed by the director of operations, in addition to their managerial roles.
The director of operations is an administrative position that includes overseeing academics, arranging travel plans and working camps, among other things. The person in that position isn’t allowed to touch a basketball during practices, according to NCAA rules.
Student managers help the team at practices by setting up beforehand, pitching in during and cleaning up afterward, in addition to other duties on and off the court.
“It’s a little more bang for our buck,” DeCuire said. “Less on the expense end. Probably less in terms of experience. But more hands on deck and more help on and off the floor as opposed to only off the floor. It’s just way more versatility with those two positions. I think we can get a lot more done that way.”
The men’s basketball team lost $290,230 during the 2016 fiscal year, the most recent available data from the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act. That figure was the highest among the 12 Big Sky Conference men’s basketball teams, and it was a greater loss than the other 11 teams combined. Southern Utah made $69,992, Montana State lost $133,786, Idaho State lost $40,633, and the other eight teams finished with $0 in profit.
The Griz missed out on $85,000 they were contracted to receive from UCLA for a scheduled game in December. The contest was canceled because of “concerns stemming from area wildfires,” and UCLA cited the “acts of God” clause in the contract to get out of paying.
This past season, first-year assistant coach Jay Flores continued with some of the director of operations duties he had when he was in that position in the 2016-17 season.
Student manager Jesse Bartels helped out with the ops duties last year and will continue with the program as a manager as he begins graduate school. The Hamilton native was an undergraduate manager the past four years and is looking to work his way into a basketball front office.
Anderson Clarke joined the program earlier this month as a graduate manager. Originally from Canberra, Australia, he played college basketball at Division II Concordia University Irvine and would like to become a coach. He’s the son of current Saint Mary’s assistant basketball coach Marty Clarke.