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Montana Basketball Coach Fired

March 24, 2002

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - Montana fired coach Don Holst on Sunday, even though he took the Grizzlies to the NCAA tournament.

Montana said it won't renew Holst's contract and is launching a search for a successor.

Holst's team went 16-15 this season, winning the Big Sky Conference tournament by upsetting Montana State and Eastern Washington. The Grizzlies lost to Oregon 82-61 in the first round of the NCAAs.

Holst was 57-56 in four years as Montana's head coach. He was an assistant from 1987-98.

"We must breathe new life into this program," athletic director Wayne Hogan said, adding that he and university president George Dennison were concerned about declining attendance.

The Grizzlies drew about 3,650 fans per game this season, more than 1,500 fewer than in 1995-96 season.