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Weber State men’s basketball hires Montana State’s Dan Russell as assistant coach

By Brett Hein - Standard-Examiner | Jun 13, 2022

Photo supplied, Montana State Athletic Creative Services

In this Jan. 9, 2022, photo, Montana State men's basketball assistant coach Dan Russell, center, looks on during a game against Montana in Bozeman, Mont.

Eric Duft has finalized his first Weber State men’s basketball coaching staff with an in-conference hire.

Duft has tabbed Montana State assistant coach Dan Russell to join the Wildcats for the 2022-23 season, sources confirmed to the Standard-Examiner.

Russell most recently spent the last three seasons at Montana State, joining the Bobcats’ staff upon the hire of head coach Danny Sprinkle and becoming part of the effort to push MSU to the top of the Big Sky Conference.

Sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because Russell’s hire has not been announced by the university as it awaits the official hiring process to be considered complete.

Russell, 36, joined MSU’s staff after 11 years at his alma mater, Casper College, in his hometown of Casper, Wyoming. He was an assistant coach there from 2008-13 before being named the head coach of the Thunderbirds.

With Russell as head coach, Casper College won 20 or more games in each of his six seasons at the helm, going 145-52 (.736) overall. That included a 32-3 season in the 2018-19 campaign, his last before jumping to Montana State.

“I think Dan is an unbelievable get for our staff,” Sprinkle said when he hired Russell in 2019, according to his MSU bio page. “He’s had unparalleled success at Casper College. He’s had tremendous players and teams there. I’ve recruited his program a lot. I’ve seen his work ethic and seen him coach in practice and games. I think Dan is really hungry.”

Russell focused on coaching guards at MSU and is credited with helping Harald Frey to a stellar senior season and developing Amin Adamu into a tough on-court matchup. He’s known as a high-energy coach and motivator.

As a player, Russell played two seasons at Casper College before finishing his college studies at the University of Wyoming, where he worked as a graduate assistant coach under Heath Schroyer.

Russell fills the vacancy left when 16-year veteran Randy Rahe retired and associate head coach Duft was promoted in his stead. On Duft’s bench, Russell joins Eric Daniels, who is entering his eighth year as a Division I assistant and fourth at Weber State, and Jorge Ruiz, who is entering his first season as an assistant coach after three years as director of operations and one as video coordinator.

With Russell in the fold, Weber State’s next order of business is completing the 2022 recruiting class. With six players currently signed (three Division I transfers, three true freshmen), the Wildcats have two scholarship players left to add for the 2022-23 season.


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