Tonight I feel truly blessed to have worked a game that ended in an amazing accomplishment, by far the greatest basketball feat I have ever witnessed in person. Our women’s basketball coach here at the University of Montana, Robin Selvig, picked up his 800th victory as the Lady Griz defeated a tough Portland team, 68-61.
Just a few statistics for you real fast: There are only seven other Division I active coaches who have 800 wins. Coaches with names such as Krzyzewski, Boeheim, VanDerveer, and Auriemma. Coach Selvig has had 33 winning seasons. He has had 28 seasons where he won 20 games or more. He has won conference coach of the year 20 different times . And my favorite, he has guided the Lady Griz to 25 NCAA tournaments! That is worth repeating, he has taken his team to the Big Dance TWENTY-FIVE times.
But the number that really strikes me about Robin is 35. That is the number of seasons he has spent as head coach of the Lady Griz. The intercollegiate athletics coaching business is not about loyalty, well at least not to 99% of the people in the industry not named Robin Selvig. Coach could have packed up and succeeded at other head coaching positions but decided to stay at Montana. He could have traveled off to East Lansing when Jud Heathcote asked him to be an assistant coach at Michigan State. He could have pursued a multitude of other basketball related positions with higher salaries in warmer climates. But he chose to stay where he was happy. He chose to stay where he knew he was making a difference. He chose to stay at a place where a rabid fan base needed him.
Just a couple personal things about Robin Selvig that I would like to mention. Besides that he is a star employee just based on the fact that he has produced 800 wins for Grizzly Athletics, he is an invaluable employee because of how he conducts himself in the athletic department and how he treats others. Never too big for anyone, Robin always takes the time to look me in the eye and cheerfully greets me with a “Hi Brent” whenever we cross paths in the hall. He never thought twice about helping us out when we filmed a Monte video where we had him stand in an elevator (he played the part perfectly). Don’t put it past him to dress up in a Santa Claus outfit either because he will do that instantly. During press conferences he takes questions from everyone and always responds with an articulate, and many times hilarious, answer (please let me take this moment to say that very few people on this planet come close to matching the sense of humor that Robin has). His heart is enormous and he has helped countless people by way of his program, and I am not just talking players.
Besides everything I just mentioned, I have personally witnessed Robin Selvig stand up for those around him and those he has worked with in big time, high stakes situations. It was incredible to see and will forever make me recognize Robin as an amazing person before I recognize him as an amazing coach.
Robin Selvig is a legend. There is no other way to say it. He is a giant in the state of Montana, a highly regarded coach nationally, and a stand up human being. I will take it to my grave that I roamed the same halls as Coach Selvig for no less than four years and that I got to stand two feet away from him as he delivered his 800th victory speech. As you could probably guess, he gave all the credit to his players. Ladies and gentlemen, Robin Selvig. Don’t Blink.
I don’t think Rob is so magnanimous because last year at the Lady Griz Poker tournament I finally got to set at the same table as him. One hand after the last card was dealt he called my bet instead of folding and letting me win. Anyways, it is great to watch him coach with his never ending passion and intensity.