Mick Durham Announces Retirement From Coaching
Mick Durham retires with 397 career victories, including 151 in his 12 seasons as a head coach in the GNAC.
Mick Durham retires with 397 career victories, including 151 in his 12 seasons as a head coach in the GNAC.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023
by Montana State Billings Athletic Communications

BILLINGS, Mont. – Montana State University Billings men’s basketball head coach Mick Durham announced Wednesday his retirement after more than 40 years of coaching.

“I’d like to thank former AD Krista Montague for the opportunity she gave me here at MSUB five years ago, and also current AD Mike Bazemore and administrative staff for all their support and help,” said Durham. “It’s been a thrill for me to come back to my home state and finish out my coaching career. I also would like to thank my two full time assistants Bobby Howard for my first two years and Luke Fennelly the last three years for all the work and loyalty they showed during my MSUB tenure. Lastly, thanks to the players that played here the last five years and all the work they put in on and off the court to make MSUB proud. I’m excited to be leaving MSUB after a good season and a NCAA Tournament berth and solid momentum for the future.”

A legend in Montana basketball, Durham spent the past five seasons in charge of the Yellowjackets, collecting a 59-56 overall record, and a 39-36 record in GNAC play. He led MSUB to three GNAC Championships appearances and to the NCAA Division II Tournament one time.

This past season was Durham’s most successful at MSUB, and one of the best in program history. Durham’s Yellowjackets went 20-10 overall, their most wins since the 2005-2006 season, and went 14-4 in conference play, picking up their most GNAC wins in a single season. Durham was selected as the GNAC’s Coach of the Year, the first coach to receive the honor in MSUB history. The ‘Jackets finished second in the GNAC regular season standings, and qualified for the NCAA Division II Tournament with an at-large bid.

“Mick’s career speaks for itself, a true testament to his skill level and the ability to adapt to the constantly changing landscape of men’s basketball,” said MSUB Athletic Director Michael Bazemore. “His experience was instrumental in not only reshaping our program, but putting us in a position for success after his retirement. I’ve enjoyed working with Mick over the past two years and I wish nothing but the best for him and his family in this next chapter of his journey.”

“I remember being thrilled when Coach Durham accepted our offer to become the head men’s basketball coach five years ago,” said former Athletic Director Krista Montague. “He brought immediate credibility to the program and we were fortunate to get someone with his positive reputation and proven coaching ability to lead the team. I am very proud and happy for him to finish on such a successful note this year, no doubt it was the result of a lot of hard work and quality recruiting in the making. I want to wish Mick and his family all the best as he steps away from the game and begins to enjoy his well-deserved retirement.”

A native of Three Forks, Montana, Durham made a name for himself both as a player and a coach at Montana State. Durham played with the Bobcats from 1975-1980, becoming a starter his sophomore year. Durham finished with 362 assists, which currently ranks sixth in school history but was second when he finished playing. Durham is also one of the most prolific free throw shooters in Montana State history, knocking down 81.6% in his career, and finishing with the fifth best single season percentage in the 1979-1980 season, where he hit 87.5% of his shots from the free throw line.

After graduating with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Durham coached for two seasons at Shepard High School before returning to the Bobcats as an assistant coach in 1982. Durham was an assistant for both Bruce Haroldson and Stu Starner until Starner’s departure in 1990, where Durham ascended into the head coaching role. Durham held the role for 16 seasons, going 246-213 in that span, winning Big Sky Coach of the Year three times. His Bobcats were regular season champions twice in his tenure, and won the conference tournament in the 1995-1996 season, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.

Following his tenure as MSU, Durham returned to coaching as an assistant for New Mexico State, a role he held from 2008-2011. After his three seasons, Durham returned to a head coaching position, this time at fellow GNAC school Alaska Fairbanks. Durham coached the Nanooks from 2011-2018, winning 92 games in that span. He qualified for three GNAC tournaments, and was selected as the GNAC co-Coach of the Year for the 2012-2013 season.

Durham finishes with a 151-159 record in 12 seasons in the GNAC, including a 92-103 record in his seven seasons as Alaska and a 59-56 record at Montana State Billings. He ranks sixth all-time among GNAC coaches in wins.

Durham finishes his career with 397 career victories, winning five coach of the year awards at two different divisions of college basketball. With the Yellowjackets, Durham’s players collected nine all-GNAC team awards, including three first team all-GNAC selections. Under Durham, MSUB received its first GNAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards in program history.