J.C. Isakson has been named the new University of Providence Men’s basketball coach, replacing Steve Keller who announced his retirement following this past season.
Isakson is no stranger to Montana basketball, having grown up at Augusta, before playing for Keller at Montana Western. He coached at Glacier High School (Kalispell, Mont.) in 2013, spent the 2014-2016 seasons under Keller at Montana Western, was a graduate assistant at MSU-Billings from 2016-2018, rejoined Keller at Providence as an assistant from 2018-2020, winning the Frontier Conference and qualifying for the NAIA tournament before Covid shut down the postseason. Isakson has spent the past three seasons as the lead assistant for the Argo women.
Athletic Director Doug Hashley says the Argos got a good one, “”It is a very difficult task to replace a legendary basketball coach and great person in Steve Keller. He brought the University of Providence basketball program to new successes; We will always be grateful that he chose us and he will be missed.
“We are happy to announce Coach Keller’s successor is J.C. Isakson. He is very experienced with the Frontier Conference. He has a great reputation as a basketball coach in and around Montana. He will keep building and growing on the successful foundation that has been built.”
Isakson says he is looking forward to taking the Argos to the next step, “I would like to thank Father Oliver, Vice President Joel Bluml, Campus Ministry Director Nicholas Estrada, Athletic Director Doug Hashley, and the search committee for selecting me to be the next Head Men’s Basketball Coach at the University of Providence. This has been a goal of mine since childhood, and I would not be here without those who helped me along the journey. Coach Mark Harkins, Coach Jamie Stevens, Coach Steve Keller, and Coach Bill Himmelberg all took chances on me and gave me opportunities in this profession. They all had a tremendous impact on my development and helped me become the coach I am today.
“The University of Providence, previously the University of Great Falls, and originally the College of Great Falls has a rich basketball history and a prestigious list of alumni and former coaches. I look forward to the opportunity to connect with these individuals, nurture relationships with them, and produce a program that honors this history and continues the great traditions here.
“Not a lot of first-time head coaches inherit a team of this caliber. Coach Keller led this group to the Frontier Conference Tournament Championship game this season and a majority of the key pieces will return. Now we just need to add a few high character, instant impact players. Furthermore, we will emphasize our recruiting reach within the state of Montana. The University of Providence is and will be a great place to earn a degree and play a high level of basketball in the competitive Frontier Conference. We look forward to keeping Montana kids home.
“Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Baylie. It is not easy being a coach’s wife but none of this would be possible without her love, support, and ability to manage a calendar! She has never wavered throughout this journey.”
Isakson also founded and directs Montana Hoops, a grassroots basketball organization that hosts camps, clinics, and travel team tournaments for Montana prep basketball athletes.
Isakson is the proud father of daughter BlaykLinn with wife Baylie, and the family is expecting twins this summer.
Story: Jason Walker, University of Providence Sports Information