University of Montana head men's basketball coach Wayne Tinkle has stepped down to accept the same position at Pac-12 Oregon State University.

Wayne Tinkle
photo from Facebook

UM Athletic Director Kent Haslam, driving back to Missoula from Lewistown on Monday night, commented on the timeline of how the Beavers came to terms with now former Grizzly head coach Wayne Tinkle.

"About 10 days ago, I was contacted by Oregon State, and they asked for permission to visit with Wayne," Haslam said. "I knew we had a wonderful coach here, as well as a great man, and I know that was going to draw attention, especially with all the success he's had here at the University of Montana."

Haslam said the now-vacant head coaching job at Montana has already drawn many interested parties.

"This is a very attractive job in a wonderful community, with a strong foundation and a great history in basketball," Haslam said. "We've had great coaches who have gone on to do wonderful things in basketball, so this will be a very attractive job. So, we will move quickly, but judiciously, as we move forward to search for the next leader of our men's basketball program."

Haslam continued, "I was already getting inquiries just when the rumors began about Wayne going to Oregon State, so word travels fast, and there'll be plenty of people interested in the job. I plan to run point in the search, and we'll put a good search committee together. We do want to move quickly, that's no doubt, but you don't want to move so fast that you get sloppy, and you want to make sure you're hiring the right person."

Without naming names, Haslam provided the qualifications for the next head men's basketball coach.

"The front-runner's going to be someone who can articulate a vision for men's basketball, and that fits in with the vision of the overall athletic department," Haslam said. "They will focus on academics, athletics and community. Someone who will lead with integrity, and be focused on the academic and athletic success of these young men that they'll be trusted to coach."

Haslam said the players that Tinkle and his staff have recruited will have to weather the change in leadership.

"Hopefully, they've been recruited to a program and a university," Haslam said. "Certainly, Wayne was a big part of that, but oftentimes, change is inevitable, and we'll do our very best to keep those recruits intact, and find our way to move forward."

University of Montana Athletic Director Kent Haslam

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