BOZEMAN — Mick Durham could be coming back to Montana State to coach men's basketball.

Only this time, the former Bobcats coach would be in Billings, as head coach of the NCAA Division II Yellowjackets.

"I think it's headed the right way," Durham told 406mtsports.com on Thursday, adding that because the job doesn't close until Friday he "can't really comment any more."

"I can tell you I applied. It closes tomorrow and we'll go from there."

When first asked about mutual interest with Durham on Monday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where the MSUB women's team was competing in the NCAA Division II national tournament, athletic director Krista Montague said she "can't confirm or deny" whether the veteran coach is a candidate.

In a follow-up conversation Thursday, Montague reiterated that for reasons related to human-resources protocol she is limited in what she can add at least until Friday.

"The job closes tomorrow and there's really not a lot we can do or say before then," she said. "I can say that we want to move as fast as we can as soon as tomorrow hits. As soon as we get the green light to close this tomorrow, we're going to move quickly."

Montague said she doesn't have a target date for a hire, other than before the annual letter-of-intent date April 11.

"It'll probably depend on the schedules of people, and how fast we can move with interviews and things," she said. "Hopefully next week we'll have a lot more to talk about."

Durham, 61, just completed his seventh year as head coach at Alaska Fairbanks, where he led the Nanooks to their best Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament finish in 2016. Alaska had its most regular-season GNAC victories (15) that season and second-most overall (22) in school history.

Durham spent 16 years as the head man at MSU in Bozeman, where he remains the program's second-winningest coach. He retired in 2006 and was out of the sport briefly until returning as an assistant at New Mexico State in for three seasons.

He accepted the job in Fairbanks in 2011. 

Durham's first Alaska team went 5-23. The next year, Alaska advanced to the semifinals of the GNAC tournament for the first time in eight years by defeating, ironically, MSU Billings.

Durham was GNAC co-coach of the year that season.

Durham also was three-time coach of the year for the Big Sky Conference at Montana State, where he played after graduating from Three Forks High School. He guided the Bobcats to their last NCAA Tournament appearance, in 1996.

Before he was named head coach in 1990, he was an assistant for eight seasons at MSU. He remains fourth all-time at MSU in assists and free-throw percentage.

The Durhams still own a home in Bozeman and two of their three children live there, including son Casey, who played for his dad at MSU. A sister-in-law lives in Billings.

Former Bobcat and Great Falls High standout Bobby Howard is Durham's assistant at Alaska. Howard is the 11th all-time leading scorer for MSU.

MSU Billings is searching for a successor to Jamie Stevens, who resigned March 6 after seven years as head coach.

"We're looking for the right fit for Billings, for the state and for our conference," Montague said. 

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Email Jeff Welsch at jeff.welsch@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @406sportswelsch


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