The Montana State men’s basketball final assistant coaching position was filled on Thursday, May 2, as head coach Danny Sprinkle announced Dan Russell will be joining the Bobcats’ staff.
Russell has been the head coach of the Casper College program for the previous six seasons. The Casper, Wyoming, native led the Thunderbirds to one of their best years in program history this past season, ending the campaign with a 32-3 overall record. Casper College earned its first NJCAA Region IX Championship in 23 years and made an appearance in the NJCAA Division I Championships. Russell was named the region’s coach of the year.
“I think Dan is an unbelievable get for our staff,” Sprinkle said. “He led his team to the national junior college tournament and he’s had unparalleled success at Casper College. He’s had tremendous players and teams there. I’ve recruited his program a lot. I’ve seen his work ethic and seen him coach in practice and games. I think Dan is really hungry and he’s been waiting to get to the Division I level.
“I can’t wait to get him and his wife Keisha up here. I couldn’t be more excited to welcome them into the Bobcat family.”
Prior to taking the helm of the Thunderbirds, Russell spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Casper College. He raised the Casper College program to new heights when he took over as the Thunderbirds went 145-52 (.736) during his six seasons as head coach.
Casper College won over 20 games every year Russell led the program. He took over the Thunderbirds’ head coaching position at the age of 27, serving at the time as one of the youngest head coaches in the country. His teams made appearances in the Region IX tournament six straight seasons and advanced to two regional championship games.
“My situation at Casper College has been a very unique one,” Russell said. “I’m from here and I played and coached here. I’ve looked at a few different Division I opportunities and always thought it would take something special to leave for a new one. I think this is one of the most special opportunities I’ve come across.
“I trust Danny’s vision. He’s a great, high character guy. He’s got a great basketball mind. I’m very honored, humbled and excited to go to work for coach Sprinkle and Bobcat Nation.”
The Casper native graduated from Natrona County High School. He played two years at Casper College before earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming. While in Laramie, Russell worked on Heath Schroyer’s staff as a graduate assistant.
Russell joins Sprinkle’s coaching staff for the Bobcat head coach’s inaugural season leading the program. The staff includes Shawn Dirden and Chris Haslam, who were previously announced as assistants on April 25.
Sprinkle also announced a roster change for the upcoming season. Rising junior Lassi Nikkarinen informed the program of his intentions to transfer at the end of the current semester.