By Kim Staudinger
Reece Gliko, the final candidate to interview for the men's basketball coaching job at Montana State University-Northern, promised an aggressive coaching style that may drive some players away.
"My program is not for every player," he told about seven people at a community meeting Tuesday night.
During Gliko's first season at Olympic Junior College in Bremerton, Wash., nearly half his team left after the first week of team meetings and individual meetings, he said, forcing him to begin the season with just seven players. They eventually finished the season with 11 players.
Gliko is a former Belt High School basketball standout. He also played college basketball at Rocky Mountain College for two years and at MSU-Billings for two years. Gliko began his coaching career at MSU-Billings as a volunteer assistant coach in 1997 and then came to Northern as an assistant under Tim Walker in 1998. He has been with Olympic for one year.
The head men's coaching post at Northern was vacated April 5 when Brian Harrell resigned after an audit was conducted on his program.
Gliko described his style as "intense" and said he will bring the same style to the game floor as he does in practice.
"I'm intense but I'm not out of control," he said.
His style of coaching may prompt some current players at Northern to leave if he is hired, Gliko said.
"I'm going to honor (the scholarships of) the guys here," he said. "Then I will offer scholarships here to guys from Olympic."
Gliko said he hopes to have about 12 players on the team. Those players, he promised, would be athletes the community could be proud of.
"I would rather go .500 and have nice kids than have renegades and go 20 and 0 and win the national championship. I really would.
"I'm going to recruit character over talent every time. The best teams I've been on have had good character over talent."
Gliko, who got married 11 days ago, said he and his wife, who has family in the Lewistown area, have a desire to come back to their home state.
"The biggest reason is it's closer to home and to be closer to our family and be back in Montana," he said.
Having grown up and played college basketball in Montana, Gliko said, he understands the importance of recruiting in-state athletes.
"I want Montana kids. I know that's important," he said. "I'm a Montana kid. You can win with Montana kids. You can win national championships with Montana kids."
Gliko would particularly target high school athletes.
"The ideal way would be to recruit kids out of high school," Gliko said. "I want to win but it's not the most important thing. Building a base with those four-year kids for a program is important."
Gliko owns and operates the Big Sky Basketball Academy in Belt, where he directs overnight basketball camps, day clinics and private lessons throughout the summer. Gliko said he would rather focus on running camps as a fund-raiser for the program than raising money doing such activities as car washes.
"I wouldn't say fund raising is out of the ceiling by any means, but I think you can make a great deal of money from camps," he said.
Northern athletics director Ted Spatkowski said a decision on the new coach is expected soon. The search committee members met this morning and will relay their recommendations to Chancellor Alex Capdeville, who will make the final decision.