Travis DeCuire continues to rewrite Montana's record books as he enters his fifth season as head coach in 2018-19. During his four seasons, the former Griz player has led Montana to three postseason appearances and 20-win seasons, including 2017-18 campaign that featured Big Sky Conference regular-season and tournament titles and an appearance in the NCAA tournament.
DeCuire (pronounced: dee-CURE) was tabbed as coach of the year by the Big Sky Conference and the NABC (District 6) in 2018, and made league history by becoming the fastest coach ever to win 50 games (50-15). His current Big Sky winning percentage (55-17, .764) ranks third in league history and is best among coaches with at least 40 wins.
The 2017-18 season was historic on many levels, with Montana posting 26 victories (third in program history), winning both the Big Sky Conference regular-season and tournament titles, and advancing to the NCAA tournament. The 26-8 record included a 14-0 mark on their home court. In late December, Montana closed its non-conference slate with a winning record for the first time in six seasons – featuring a signature victory at Pitt – before beginning Big Sky play 13-0. The 13-game winning streak was the third-longest in school history, in addition to the third-longest active streak in the NCAA at the time. The stretch also featured a program-record seven consecutive road victories.
The Grizzlies finished the season ranked No. 14 in the final College Insider Mid-Major Top 25 poll. Montana had three representatives on the All-Big Sky teams, including first-team selection Ahmaad Rorie and Defensive Player of the Year Michael Oguine. During the 2017-18 season, both guards surpassed 1,000 career points, becoming the 32nd and 33rd players to join UM’s exclusive list. Rorie became just the third in UM history to reach the milestone in just his second season.
Montana used the same starting lineup for all 34 contests, leading to a balanced effort. The Grizzlies led the Big Sky in five statistical categories and ranked in the top three in 14. Nationally, the Grizzlies ranked in the top 80 nationally for both scoring offense (78th) and defense (73rd) – one of 15 schools to do so. On offense, Montana shot better than 50 percent a dozen times, ranking 68th nationally at .467 on the year. On defense, the Grizzlies were even better. They ranked in the top 30 nationally for turnovers forced (15.4, 22nd), steals (7.8, 23rd) and turnover margin (+3.0, 29th).
In his first season at the helm of a program with a rich history of success, DeCuire’s Griz started the year picked to finish eighth in the conference. Led by future European professional Jordan Gregory, UM would go on to defy expectations and win the Big Sky regular-season championship and advance to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) before finishing the season 20-13 (14-4 BSC).
At the time, he became only the second coach in UM history to notch 20 victories in his first season at the helm – a feat also accomplished by Blaine Taylor in 1991-92 (27-4).
In DeCuire’s second year, he followed up with another 20-win season and another trip to the Big Sky championship game, this time led by future European professional Martin Breunig. DeCuire’s Grizzlies would once again advance to the postseason, competing in the first round of the CBI tournament against Nevada, finishing with a 21-12 (14-4 BSC) record. He is the only coach in UM history to win at least 20 games in each of his first two seasons.
Paced by 10 underclassmen and just two seniors who played significant time, the Grizzlies went 16-16 (11-7 BSC) in 2016-17, earning a first-round bye in the Big Sky tournament. During the season, DeCuire became the second-fastest UM head coach to reach 50 wins (doing so in 84 contests).
The 2016-17 season was also the second consecutive year in which the Grizzlies have posted a team grade-point average above 3.0, earning NABC Team Academic Excellence recognition both seasons.
Prior to returning to his alma mater as head coach, DeCuire spent six seasons (2008-09 through 2013-14) on the University of California coaching staff – including the final four as associate head coach. Regarded as one of the top tutors in the game, DeCuire helped former Montana mentor Mike Montgomery – a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame – transform Cal into one of the winningest programs in the Pac-12 during his time in Berkeley. The Bears reached the postseason all six years he was on the staff, including the NCAA tournament four times. The Golden Bears boasted 130 wins in his six seasons – the best six-year stretch in school history – winning the 2010 Pac-10 championship. He coached numerous all-conference selections, including conference players of the year Jerome Randle (2010) and Jorge Gutierrez (2012).
DeCuire he spent five seasons (2003-04 through 2007-08) as an assistant coach at Old Dominion, under former Griz head coach and player Blaine Taylor. There, he helped the Monarchs to a combined record of 117-53. The mark included 94 wins during his final four seasons – the most in school history over a four-year stretch. ODU reached the postseason each of those four seasons and advanced to the NCAA tournament in both 2005 and 2007 – winning a school-record 28 contests in 2005. Additionally, the Monarchs reached the NIT semifinals in 2006 and the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational in 2008.
DeCuire, from Seattle, Wash., also has head coaching experience from stints at Sammamish High School and Green River Community College in Washington. At GRCC, DeCuire took over a last-place program and guided it to a conference championship and its first 20-win season in more than 20 years, earning league coach-of-the-year honors in 2003 – his second season. At Sammamish High School in Bellevue, DeCuire led his team to a pair of conference titles, a state tournament appearance and three consecutive trips to the district tournament.
As a point guard for Montana from 1992-94 DeCuire was named All-Big Sky Conference as a junior and senior. He set a school record in just three seasons with 435 career assists. He also established UM's single-season mark with 199 assists as a senior in 1993-94, when he was ranked 12th in the nation, averaging 7.1 assists a game. He was the recipient of the Grizzlies' Carl Dragstedt Award (MVP) as a junior and senior, and received the John Eaheart Award (Outstanding Defensive Player) following his senior year.
As a freshman at Chaminade-Hawaii, he was a starter and team MVP in 1990. He then transferred to Montana and redshirted in 1991. DeCuire attended Mercer Island High School (Wash.), where he was a three-year starter and all-state, team MVP, and a McDonald's All-America honorable mention pick as a senior.
He has a strong commitment to community service and founded and acted as president of the Fastbreak Basketball Association – an organization that assists in teaching life lessons and building self-esteem through basketball to more than 500 students in the Seattle-Tacoma area. Additionally, he has extensive experience in counseling at the Echo Glen Children's Center in Snoqualmie, Wash., from 1996-98, and with the Ryther Children's Center in North Seattle, from 1995-97.
DeCuire graduated from Montana in 1994 with a degree in business marketing. He and his wife, Sabrina, have two daughters – Brianna (24) and Tamia (5).
|TRAVIS DeCUIRE AT A GLANCE
Daughters: Brianna, Tamia
||Green River Community College, head coach
||Old Dominion, assistant coach
||California, assistant coach
||California, associate head coach
||Montana, head coach
|HEAD COACHING HISTORY
||Big Sky Tour.