By Kim Staudinger
Having working knowledge of the Frontier Conference certainly would come in handy when applying for a coaching position at a Frontier school.
Shawn Huse, the third candidate to interview for the Montana State University-Northern men's head coaching post, knows the Frontier Conference like the back of his hand. Huse played at Montana Tech from 1991 to 1995 and then became an assistant in the same program from 1997 to 2000. His oldest brother, who is the basketball coach at Jamestown College, also played in the conference.
The position at Northern opened when Brian Harrell resigned April 5 after an audit was conducted on the men's basketball program.
Huse, 30, has been an assistant coach at the University of Nebraska at Kearney for the past two years. He was also a junior varsity coach at Missoula Big Sky High School for one year. He will graduate this summer with a master's degree in sports administration. Huse has also taught at each of the schools he has coached for and has been a camp coach.
"I always looked at Northern basketball as rich in tradition," Huse said. "To get a chance to be a coach here would be awesome, just awesome. The more I've thought about it, the more excited I have become."
Huse, who is engaged to be married this summer, said he and his fiance are excited at the thought of coming home to Montana. Huse met with about 10 community members at a public gathering Monday night.
"I'm interested in being here awhile and so is she," he said. "She is very interested in the job as am I. I think it's everybody's goal eventually to make it back to their home state."
His fiance is also from Missoula and played volleyball at Tech.
"She understands what it's like to be a coach's fiance," he said. "We place a big interest on family and having family being a big part of the program. We see ourselves as being major influences on the players on a day-to-day basis."
Having been an assistant coach at Tech, Huse already has many contacts for potential recruiting. Huse recruited a Montana athlete from Miles Community College, Richard Dionne, for Kearney.
While the recruiting season is nearing its end, Huse hopes his contacts will help him find quality players to put on the floor for next season.
"I definitely think it will be a challenge," he said. "We will probably be a step behind the others. The recruiting season, especially in NAIA basketball, doesn't end, although it is good to get all the earlies. I think there's still time and I also think that this is a process. I'm not interested in a one-year thing. I'm interested in looking toward the future of Northern Montana basketball."
The future of Northern basketball, he said, will be placed in the hands of mostly Montana athletes.
"I want to bring in a lot of Montana guys," he said. "I see myself really putting focus on Montana kids."
Too many of the state's athletes are missing out on Montana basketball, he added.
"(Recruiting's) a challenge but part of the kids from Eastern Montana like to go to North Dakota," Huse said. "I think some of those kids are missing the boat on Northern Montana."
Huse 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.
The final candidate, Reece Gliko, will meet with the public tonight at 5 in the Student Union Building.