BOZEMAN — Since launching a national search for Montana State’s next head volleyball coach, athletic director Leon Costello had a list of four qualifications he was looking for.
First, Costello and the university's search committee wanted a coach with a rich history, specifically one that had prior experience running their own program. Additionally, they wanted someone who was 'coming from highly successful results' and also had 'excellence in recruiting.'
However, one of the other important qualifications the team was looking for was leadership qualities that would foster a positive culture.
Costello shared during Wednesday's introductory press that they found those qualities in Matt Houk, officially naming him the 12th head coach in program history.
#MSUBobcatsVB officially introduces their new head coach, Matt Houk.— Ashley Washburn (@ashleyjwashburn) January 18, 2023
Houk brings 20 years of coaching experience and has spent the last nine of those in Big Ten country at the University of Minnesota. pic.twitter.com/jQ9iEvZ9cD
With 20 years of coaching experience, Houk comes from Big Ten country where he spent the last nine seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota.
Prior to that, he was the head coach at the University of South Dakota where helped the program transition to the Division I level and still holds the best win percentage (.533) in program history during his six-year stint.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’ve been at a few places, and the thing that’s stood out is people matter," Houk stated during Wednesday's introductory press conference. "When I decided I was going to do this search, the biggest thing I was looking for was the right people… The right people are here. I believe in the leadership that is happening by Leon and his staff. I believe that their support in volleyball is going to allow us to accomplish the things that we want to accomplish, and I’m just really excited to be here and get a chance to get going.”
Hauck played an integral role as an assistant guiding Minnesota to three Final Fours, four Elite Eights, and eight Sweet 16 appearances. Additionally, he also had a hand in the program's two Big Ten championships in 2015 and 2018.
It’s a level of success Montana State wants to see as a program in the Big Sky, and with Hauk’s decorated resume, they’re expecting him to deliver.
“I can tell you this one thing," Hauk proceeded. "We are going to compete and nothing less than that will be acceptable. We’re going to have a team out there that’s going to bring it every single night, and I hope if you’ve never seen us play before and you walk in and you walk out 10 minutes later, you’re using words like gritty and tough and competitive."
Houk met with his team for the first time Wednesday morning to start laying the groundwork, but the group won’t hit the gym until Tuesday next week.
“I have a lot of confidence that we already have the talent in the room to do some things."
The rest of Hauk’s coaching staff is still yet to be determined, but he shared Wednesday that it will be finalized soon.