Adding to a new era


Weber State University’s men’s basketball team announced on June 22 that Dan Russell is the newest addition to the Wildcat coaching staff.

Russell, a Wyoming native, played his first two years of college basketball at Casper College before finishing his academic and athletic career at the University of Wyoming.

Before heading back to his alma mater, Casper College, Russell was a graduate assistant for the Cowboys.

During his time at Casper College, Russell spent five years as an assistant coach and six years at the helm of the program.

The Thunderbirds posted up to 20 wins a season with Russell at the helm and an overall record of 145–52. Russell was named head coach at the age of 27 and at the time was one of the nation’s youngest head coaches.

Before making his way to Ogden and calling the Dee Events Center home, Russell spent his three most recent coaching years as an assistant coach at Montana State University.

Russell was heavily involved in the development of players that the Wildcats struggled against in the 2021-22 season, including Xavier Bishop, RaeQuan Battle and Amin Adamu.

The Wildcats and Bobcats split their regular season with wins on the road, Weber State won 85–75 in Bozeman on Dec. 30, and MSU won 78–57 at the Dee on Feb. 5.

Russell was a part of handing the Wildcats their final loss of the 2021-22 season in the Big Sky Tournament semifinals on March 11. The No. 1 Bobcats beat the No. 4 Wildcats in a 69–66 game.

“We are very excited to have Dan join our basketball family at Weber State,” head coach Eric Duft said in a Weber State Athletics news release. “He has head coaching experience and has won at the highest level in the Big Sky.”

Since the announcement of Randy Rahe’s retirement earlier this year, familiar faces are still found among the Wildcat coaching staff. Alongside Duft, Eric Daniels will be returning for his fourth season with the Wildcats as an assistant coach.

Jorge Ruiz has previously spent the last four seasons with the team, spending one year as the Wildcat’s video coordinator and three as their Director of Operations. As of recently, Ruiz was named an assistant coach following Duft taking over at the helm.

Hires within the Big Sky look to be a common trend as MSU announced on May 27 that Johnny Hill was hired as assistant coach. Hill was previously assistant coach at the University of Idaho.