Laughter and Tears at Robin Selvig Retirement Press Conference
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University of Montana Athletic Director Kent Haslam had to do some convincing to get Lady Griz Head Coach Robin Selvig to do a retirement press conference, because even after 38 years at the helm, Selvig doesn’t understand all the fuss.
“I’m just retiring, I’m not dead!” Selvig exclaimed to a crowd of media people, fellow members of the athletic department, his family and several former Lady Griz players who had made the trip to see their coach officially announce his retirement in the Sky Club above the Dahlberg Arena.
“I’m a crier, so expect it,” Selvig said to start out, and he was right. There were several times when the coach teared up, especially when he talked about his players over the past 38 years, his assistant coaches and all the friends he had made.
Selvig said he hoped that one of his assistants would be able to succeed him, but of the original three, only Shannon Cate-Schweyen remains, and she would be the odds-on sentimental choice to succeed the man she played under and coached with.
Selvig was asked if there were any truly memorable victories that stood out in his mind, but he turned that question around, and said it was some of the close losses that are most memorable, simply because of the emotional impact they had on the coach and the players.
“I remember sitting in the locker room after a couple of losses that are my most special memories,” he said. “We lost to Stanford by one, or something like that, and that was the all-Montana team, I think, and we were supposed to get beat by 20, and we had a chance to win at the end. The ladies just played their hearts out and sitting in the locker room was just as special as anything. When we played Louisiana Tech, a team that should have been a number two seed in the NCAA tournament, the coach came over to shake my hand and said ‘We’re not coming here again’, and it was a complement. ‘Your girls just played too hard and they played too well’, so I remember that one, too.”
Wrapping up the press conference, Selvig told his wife “Yes, I will get the garage cleaned,” to gentle laughter from a room full of admirers and well-wishers.
Haslam said the search for a new head coach is already underway.
“I completely understand that last time somebody asked who will coach the Lady Griz, I was 10 years old, Harley Lewis was the athletic director and Jimmy Carter was in the White House,” he said. “:The plan is to move forward quickly, I want to have someone in place by the first week of school. I would be crazy not to look internally. Trish Duce has taken a job across campus over at the computer science department, and for me not to take a long hard look at Shannon, I’d be foolish not to do so, but we’ll have a full vetting process and let it work through.
Selvig retires after 38 years with the Lady Griz and a total of 865 career wins. There will never be another like him. But remember his words.. ‘Hey! I’m not dead, I’m just retiring!”