By Kim Staudinger
A Montana State University-Northern search committee will interview three finalists for the job of men's basketball coach.
The candidates will begin arriving next week and also will meet with university officials and with the public.
The finalists are Keith Cooper from Ellensburg, Wash., Tim Moser from La Junta, Colo., and Shawn Huse from Kearney, Neb.
The head coaching vacancy is the second MSU-N has had to fill this spring. Northern announced Friday that interim women's head coach Mike Erickson was selected to permanently fill that vacancy after a search committee interviewed him and two other finalists.
Erickson took over for coach Kevin Emerick, who lost his job because of a personal relationship with a student.
Northern athletics director Ted Spatkowski said about 20 people expressed interest in coaching the men's basketball team. The field was narrowed down to the three candidates by "extensive phone work," he said.
"I basically just got on the horn and tried to find the best people I could with the resources I had," he said.
Spatkowski said each candidate has connections "to at least the Pacific Northwest if not Montana."
"They all are extremely solid people and every recommendation about them was just absolutely, positively glowing," Spatkowski said.
Men's coach Brian Harrell resigned from his position April 5 after an audit was conducted of the men's basketball program. The results of the audit have been referred to the state Attorney General's Office for a criminal investigator. University Chancellor Alex Capdeville has said the audit was not the main reason Harrell resigned.
Assistant coach Warren Quick is still with the team and is currently working on scheduling and some recruiting, Spatkowski said.
Cooper has been a full-time assistant coach at Central Washington University since July 2000. Cooper is also a physical education instructor at Central Washington.
Before joining the staff at CWU, Cooper was the head boys basketball coach at Decatur High School where he compiled a 74-54 record. His teams went to the state tournament three times and made the playoffs each year. In 1996, his team won the district championship and was the Class AAA state runner-up. Cooper was named the 1999 Tacoma News Tribune All Area Coach of the Year.
Cooper graduated with a master's of physical education in 1993 from Pacific Lutheran University. He earned a bachelor's degree in social science education from Seattle Pacific University.
Cooper founded the Keith Cooper Basketball Inc. program. He creates, organizes and directs summer basketball camps.
Cooper will be in Havre on Wednesday and will meet with the community at 5 p.m. at the Fireside Room at the Student Union Building.
Moser will visit Havre next Thursday. He will also have a community meeting at 5 p.m. in the Fireside Room.
Moser is the head men's and women's basketball coach and athletic coordinator at Otero Junior College. Moser has been at Otero since 1998.
In the 1998-1999, he was named the Region IX men's and women's coach of the year.
In his tenure at Otero, his women's team complied a 92-27 record. His men's team was 79-38.
Before going to Otero, Moser was the assistant men's basketball coach and intramural director at Eastern Wyoming College for three years. He also was a volunteer assistant men's basketball coach at Southern Utah University from 1991-1993.
Huse will be the final candidate to visit the Northern campus. He will be in Havre on May 13 and will meet with the community at 5 p.m. in the Fireside Room.
Huse has been an assistant coach at the University of Nebraska at Kearney since August 2000. This past season, his team was the RMAC regular season champion with a 24-6 overall record. His team was ranked 13th in the NCAA Division II and compiled 15 straight wins for an 18-1 conference record. Last season, his team was the RMAC runner-up with a 22-6 overall record.
Before his time at University of Nebraska, Huse was an assistant coach for three years at Montana Tech. He also coached for one year at Missoula Big Sky High School as the junior varsity coach.
Huse has also taught at each of the schools he has coached for and has been a camp coach.
Huse played basketball at Montana Tech. He was named Frontier Conference Player of the Year in 1995, was a member of the Frontier Conference All-Conference team in 1993-1994 and 1994-1995, and was named to the Academic All-Frontier Conference team from 1993-1995.
Along with Spatkowski, the search committee includes Chuck Jensen, vice chancellor for student affairs; Christian Oberquell, athletics trainer; Carol Reifschneider, a professor in science and the faculty athletic representative; Mike Erickson, head women's basketball coach; and Tabarus Phillips, a player on the men's team.
Spatkowski said he expects a decision on the new coach soon after the interview process is complete.