Mick Durham takes over Nanook Men’s basketball
Daniel Thoman / Sun Star Reporter
June 24, 2011
Although Mick Durham has only been the head coach of the UAF men’s basketball team for a few weeks, he’s been looking forward to coming to Fairbanks for quite some time. He has been here before, as the head coach of the Montana State University program during the Top of the World Classic. He loves the community here and feels it’s a great fit for basketball, he said. Durham is replacing Coach Clemon Johnson, who left to take a position at his alma mater, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College. Johnson coached the Nanook men’s team for the last four seasons.
Durham’s coaching credentials are impressive, one of the leading factors contributing to his hiring, according to Forrest Karr, UAF’s Director of Athletics. Durham has spent the last three years as an assistant coach at New Mexico State University, where the team went 55-44 during his tenure, and was the head coach at Montana State University for 16 years, where he had the second-most wins in the program’s history.
In a public meeting on June 21, Durham expressed excitement at taking over the program, and said that he was most looking forward to “getting in the gym.” He also wants to get to know the team once school starts back up.
Durham stated that the program had kind of lost its way in the last few years, but also said that the most recent banners lining the halls of the Patty Center were not that old. When asked what he thought the team needed, Durham quickly said “we need big guys” and added that size was going to be an important factor when he went recruiting in July. He also said that the team needed “stability and loyalty.”
“We need to play fast and be unselfish,” said Durham on how he wants the Nanooks to play this year. “We also need to be tough.”
The subject of defense was discussed at the meeting and, based on his own experience as a point guard, Durham said man-to-man would be the primary defensive strategy.
Durham’s other major concern was reconnecting with the community- the trait that made him want to come up to Fairbanks. He spoke of a need for the team to both “entertain the fans, but be disciplined” and said that one of his major goals was to get both students and people from the community back in the seats of the Patty Center.