After serving as the top assistant coach for the Montana State University Billings men’s basketball program for two seasons, Luke Fennelly has been promoted to the title of associate head men’s basketball coach announced by the athletic department on Friday.
Fennelly, a native of Whitefish, will continue to serve in his current capacity as second in charge with head coach Mick Durham. “Luke is very deserving to have the title of associate head coach for MSUB men’s basketball,” said Durham, who begins his fifth season in charge of the Yellowjackets in 2022-23. “He came to MSUB with valuable experience from his seven years at the Division I level at Montana State. He has been involved in every aspect of our basketball program both on and off the court. He is very loyal to me and this basketball program, and wants what is best for our players at all times. We are excited about the upcoming season and what lies ahead for our program.”
Fennelly helped the Yellowjackets to their best-ever finish as members of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in 2021-22, as MSUB placed fourth in the regular-season standings with a record of 13-15 overall and 9-8 in league play.
He was the lead recruiter for Damen Thacker, who was not only the first double-digit scorer from a Division I program to transfer to MSUB, but also the first player in program history to make the preseason all-GNAC pick despite never playing in the conference.
In his second season at MSUB, Fennelly helped orchestrate a defense that led the conference in points per game allowed (66.8) while having the league’s second-lowest field goal percentage defense (42.2%). He turned the MSUB defense into one of the best units across Division II, ranking 37th in points per game allowed and 51st in field goal percentage defense – all while committing 14.1 fouls per game (36th-fewest in DII).
That year, Fennelly helped coach first-team All-GNAC award winner and 2021 Newcomer of the Year Carrington Wiggins and GNAC honorable mention selection Thacker, both of whom were top-10 scorers in the conference and averaged 1.3 steals per game. In the classroom, the Yellowjackets also had five players earn academic all-GNAC honors, which is the most in program history.
In his first season at MSUB, the Yellowjackets went 2-0 in a pair of exhibition games during spring 2021. The regular season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He spent seven seasons as a member of the coaching staff at Montana State University, where he progressed from a graduate assistant, to operations coordinator, to assistant coach.
Fennelly earned his bachelor’s degree in sports business from the University of Oregon and his master’s degree in health and human performance. He is a graduate of Whitefish High School. Fennelly is married to Colleen Reyes. They welcomed their first child, Harrison, on April 23, 2022.