Get to know the Bobcat basketball head coaches

By Caleb Rux

Men’s Head Basketball Coach Brian Fish

Question: How do you stack up in the Big Sky Conference this year?

Brian Fish: “This is the first time since I’ve been here (four years) that there has been expectations. Sometimes it’s easier to sneak up and get wins when you aren’t expected to be as good, like previous years. Everyone here has expectations: coaches, players and fans.”

Q:    What’s this team’s potential?

BF: “It evolves. We can’t predict injuries, and how players will develop over the year. We have the experience, talent and eight returners this year.”

Q: What’s the team’s  greatest strengths?

BF: “Our shooting and backcourt with Harold [Frey], Tyler [Hall], Devonte [Klines] and Zach [Green].”

Q: What’s the team’s greatest weaknesses?

BF: “Defense. It wasn’t great last year, but with experience it should get better.”

Q: What’s the focus this year?

BF: “Rebound, defend and get more easy baskets. We were forced to take a lot of jumpers last year out of a set offense.”

Q: Are there any games you have your eye on this year?

BF: “Every one. I’m also looking towards conference play this year. It’s different than when I was at Oregon—you had more games and time to prepare for conference. Here, sometimes your first 13 games are really important.”

Q: The men’s basketball program has gotten  a lot of good recruits lately. How do you sell MSU to them?

BF: “90 percent of people have never been to Montana, so we bring the parents as well as the recruits. It starts with how nice our airport and the city of Bozeman is. The excitement from everything going on on campus sells itself. It’s hardest to get people on the plane, but it’s an easy sell when they get here.”

Q:   How do you expect the program to evolve?

BF: “I think there used to be a defeatist attitude before I got here. I think as an administration we want to make this a big-time sports university.”

Q: Is there a coach you strive to be like or one who particularly influenced you?

BF: “I coached 16 years with Dana Altman (Oregon Basketball’s current head coach) and you can’t coach that long with somebody and be good friends without them influencing you. I think he’s one of the top 10 coaches in the country. If I am ever half as good as him, we will have a good team.”

Q: How would you describe your coaching style?

BF: “I hope it’s fair and intense. I hope the players know that they are the most important thing to me and my staff. I hope they know that if they give everything they’ve got, they will be rewarded.”

Q: Do you ever lose your voice?

BF: “A little bit, but the vocal chords get tougher as the year goes on.”

Q: How can attendance be increased?

BF: “There are three things: one is win. We also need players that fans connect [and] attach to like Tyler [Hall] or Harold [Frey], and third being the staff wanting to play an exciting brand of basketball.”

 

Women’s Head Basketball Coach Tricia Binford

 

Q: How do you think you stack up in the Big Sky Conference this year?

Tricia Binford: “Right now we are just trying to get as sharp as possible by Dec. 28 (first conference game).”

Q: What’s this team’s potential?
TB: “Just trying to get better right now. This is a young team. We want to keep the turnovers down and compete with physicality.”

Q: What’s the team’s greatest strengths?

TB: “We have a lot of scorers and a talented defense. Our team plays off of the defense.”

Q: What’s the team’s greatest weaknesses?
TB: “We just make mistakes.”

Q: How will you take last year’s success (Big Sky Conference Champions) and carry it into the season?

TB: “We try to build a culture around the team, and remind them what it takes to be a champion, as well as continuing to get better during practice.”

Q: What is the focus this year?

TB: “Selflessness on and off the court, toughness and getting defensive rebounds.”

Q: Any games you have your eye on this year?
TB: “The next game.”

Q: How has the program changed since you became head coach in 2005?

TB: “We have a strong foundation of our culture, being reliable, tough and selfless. We focus on how we represent ourselves in the community, classroom and on the court.”

Q: Is there a coach you look up to or strive to be like?

TB: “My mentors have been Dan Hughes, who was my coach in the WNBA (Hughes coached the Cleveland Rockers), and June Daugherty, who coached me when I played for Washington State. I also try to be like John Wooden.”

Q: What’s your favorite part about coaching?

TB: “Working with the ladies and the staff in Bozeman which is an amazing community, and university. As well as helping players develop.”

 

The men’s schedule can be found here: http://www.msubobcats.com/schedule.aspx?path=mbball

The women’s schedule can be found here: http://www.msubobcats.com/schedule.aspx?path=wbball