While the departure of Tinkle to Oregon State is disappointing for many Griz basketball fans, athletic director Kent Haslam is confident things will continue being successful for the Griz.
"I think it's important for all of our fans to understand we're healthy, and things are going in a great direction. The University of Montana is a great place to be, and certainly what makes us so attractive is our wonderful fans, which are on display here at the Civic Center (in Great Falls)," says Haslam.
As part of their spring tour, Haslam has been on the road visiting cities across the state of Montana to connect with alumni and boosters. When he reflects on the career of Tinkle, it's not so much about the wins and losses, as it is how Tinkle ran things.
"He's a great man, and a great mentor to young men. Teaching them life lessons through basketball, which is really what we're in the business of doing in higher education and college athletics, so he was obviously very valuable. You hate to see him go personally and professionally, but you're also very proud of what he's accomplished here, and look forward following him, and cheering for the Oregon State Beavers when they aren't playing us, and we'll be excited to track where Wayne goes," says Haslam.
Now, the focus turns to finding the next head basketball coach at the University of Montana.
"I think you go into any search where you have a short-list in your mind, and that's where you start, but I'll rely on the advice of a good network of former coaches at the University of Montana that are spread across the country, and some of those people I've gotten to know through this process, so I'll go through and find out who the best candidates are, and try to see as many of those people face to face so we can make a good decision," says Haslam.
Often, when a coach leaves a program, the recruits who committed to the program ask for their release. While it could still happen, no signee has requested that yet.
"I have not been in touch with them. That's a process we'll work through quickly, and figure out which assistant coaches want to stay here, or which ones may go with Wayne, but I have not been in contact with those signees, but I haven't heard anything to the contrary they are not committed to coming to the University of Montana," says Haslam