Missoula Sentinel hires Big Sky girls basketball coach for same role, Eagles boys coach steps down | Girls’ Basketball

MISSOULA — Missoula’s Class AA basketball scene will have a different flavor to it this coming winter.

Big Sky girls basketball coach Tyler Hobbs has been hired as Sentinel’s girls basketball coach, while Big Sky boys basketball coach Ryan Hansen has stepped down, they told the Missoulian and 406mtsports.com on Saturday. Their departures mean four of Missoula’s six Class AA basketball teams will have a new coach in the 2022-23 school year.

Hobbs will take over at Sentinel for Sarah Pfeifer, who spent one season in the role after replacing longtime coach Karen Deden. Former Loyola girls basketball coach Maddie Keast was hired for the same role by Hellgate to replace co-head coaches Rob and Brady Henthorn, who led the Knights to back-to-back state runner-up finishes.

Hobbs led the Eagles to a 6-12 record in 2022, their best mark since 2016, after they had won seven total games over the previous five seasons. He was their fourth coach in as many years and had tasks about after being an assistant coach under Deden at Sentinel.

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“I’m excited to get back to work with the kids,” Hobbs told the Missoulian. “I coached most of the Sentinel underclassmen on the JV team when I was Karen’s assistant. The transition should be pretty smooth considering we already know how to work with each other and the players know what to expect from me.”

Sentinel athletic director Brian Fortmann confirmed the hiring of Hobbs, a former defensive lineman for the Montana Grizzlies football team.

“I am confident that the Sentinel girls basketball program is in very good hands under Tyler’s leadership,” he told the Missoulian. “I’ve had the privilege of working with him at both Big Sky and Sentinel, and he has proven himself in the classroom, the football field and the basketball courts. Sentinel is lucky to have him now.”

While leading the Big Sky boys, Hansen and the Eagles earned a third-place finish at the State AA boys basketball tournament and a 14-11 record this winter. It was the program’s best finish at state since taking fourth in 2007 and its first state trophy since its 1997 state championship.

“Teaching in Stevi and coaching at Big Sky just wasn’t fair to either school,” Hansen told the Missoulian. “Big Sky needs a coach that is there and can fully focus on those kids and that program, while Stevi deserves a teacher that can focus on that job. And probably most importantly, it wasn’t fair for my wife to have four kids 5 and under to handle by herself.

“Looking back where the program was when I got there, I’m pretty proud of where it is today. Every coach wants to leave the program better than when they got there, and I feel like as a group we accomplished that. It speaks volumes about the players and my staff that we were able to build the program to where it is the right way as well. The kids and coaches made my job so much easier and I will forever be grateful for all they did.”

Frank Gogola covers Griz football and prep sports for the Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter @FrankGogola or email him at frank.gogola@missoulian.com.

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