Montana advanced to face No. 1 Portland State Friday night
Montana finishes 16-15, a 10-win improvement from 2012
Montana faces No. 4 Northern Arizona Friday at 1 p.m. (MT)
Montana wins at Montana State for the eighth straight year
Montana vs. Eastern Washington (10/31/13)
Montana vs. Montana State (10/21/13)
Montana vs. Southern Utah (10/11/13)
Montana vs. Northern Arizona (10/12/13)
Montana vs. North Dakota (9/21/13)
The 2013 season marks Jerry Wagner's eighth year as head coach at the University of Montana. Wagner was hired in May 2006 in a move that completed his return to the program that provided him his first NCAA Division I assistant coaching position in 1988.
After leaving the Grizzlies in 1990, Wagner coached for 15 seasons at Oregon State, Montana State and Gonzaga before finally making it back to Missoula and the job he had been preparing for.
Montana has gone 80-109 in seven seasons under Wagner, and the Grizzlies have once again become competitive in the Big Sky Conference. The team struggled to a 12-58 league record the five seasons prior to Wagner's arrival.
Montana has been at or above .500 in the Big Sky five of seven seasons under Wagner and advanced to four postseason conference tournaments. The Grizzlies made three straight Big Sky tournaments from 2008-10, the program's first three-year run of appearances since 1992-94.
In addition to the team's success, individual players have thrived under the guidance of Wagner and his coaching staffs.
Montana had not had a first-team All-Big Sky Conference selection since 1996 when Wagner was hired. In his first seven seasons, Wagner has coached and developed four: Claudia Houle in 2006 and Jaimie Thibeault in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Thibeault became just the third player in Montana volleyball history to earn three first-team all-conference selections, joining Cindy Pitzinger (1985-87), who was inducted into the Grizzly Sports Hall of Fame in 2005, and Karen Goff (1992-94).
Thibeault was voted the league's Outstanding Freshman in 2007, Brittney Brown the Top Newcomer in 2008 and Brown the Libero of the Year in 2009.
Thibeault and Amy Roberts, both members of Wagner's 2007 recruiting class, continued their playing careers in professional leagues in Europe once they were done competing for the Grizzlies.
Montana's impressive gains on the court have not come at the expense of the classroom. Rather, the team's academic performance has only solidified under Wagner.
The Grizzlies have had 38 Academic All-Big Sky Conference selections under Wagner, and his teams have posted at least a 3.00 grade point average for every semester (through fall 2012) since he was hired. Ten of those semesters ended with the team at 3.2 or better, with a high-water mark of 3.63 for the 2011 spring term.
Montana was also a recipient of the American Volleyball Coaches Association's Team Academic Award in both 2008-09 and 2010-11 for having an academic-year GPA of 3.3 or better.
Wagner's Division I coaching experience began in 1988 when he was hired by legendary Griz coach Dick Scott to serve as an assistant. Wagner helped Montana to two 20-win seasons in his three years (1988-90) and the program's first NCAA tournament appearance in 1990.
Wagner took an assistant job under Dave Gantt at Oregon State following the 1990 season. Wagner spent eight years as an assistant with the Beavers (1991-98), guiding those teams to 125 victories and trips to the Women's Invitational Volleyball Championship (WIVC) in 1993 and 1994.
Following the 1998 season, Wagner reunited with Gantt at Montana State. Wagner was the top assistant with the Bobcats for four years (1999-2002) and was elevated to the position of associate head coach for the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
In those six years, the Bobcats went 117-54 and advanced to six Big Sky Conference tournaments.
Wagner spent the 2005 season as an assistant at Gonzaga, where he helped the Bulldogs to their best record in a decade, before returning to Montana.
Born in Havre, Mont., Wagner is the youngest of four children and a 1979 graduate of Havre High.
Wagner's coaching career started the fall of his first year in college when he was a student assistant coach for the Northern Montana College (now Montana State-Northern) volleyball program in Havre. He coached for two seasons (1979-80) before graduating with an associate degree in drafting.
After working as a draftsman in the private sector for two years, Wagner enrolled again at Northern Montana (NMC) in the fall of 1983. He graduated in 1986 with a degree in secondary education and an extended major in physical education.
Wagner spent four falls (1983-86) as an assistant at NMC and spent the 1985, 1986 and 1987 winter seasons as the first head volleyball coach at Havre High.
Wagner worked as the head coach at Northern Montana in 1987 before joining Scott's staff at Montana in 1988.
Montana year-by-year under Wagner
Wagner's coaching resume
11/26/2013 - W. Volleyball
11/25/2013 - W. Volleyball
11/23/2013 - W. Volleyball
11/22/2013 - W. Volleyball
11/21/2013 - W. Volleyball
11/16/2013 - W. Volleyball
11/14/2013 - W. Volleyball
11/13/2013 - W. Volleyball
11/09/2013 - W. Volleyball
11/08/2013 - W. Volleyball
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