Gonzaga Volleyball Coach Hired as new UGF Vice President for Ath - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Gonzaga Volleyball Coach Hired as new UGF Vice President for Athletics

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The University of Great Falls is excited to announce the hiring of a new Vice President for Athletics. Weeks after hiring the 9th university President, Dr. Anthony Aretz, UGF has hired former Gonzaga University Head Volleyball Coach and University of Montana-Northern Athletic Director, Dave Gantt. Ganntt is a 1978 graduate of the University of Great Falls, and will be the school’s first Vice President for Athletics. The school has been without a fulltime AD since the retirement of Gary Ehnes in the fall of 2014 and has elevated the position of Athletic Director to a Vice President position.

“It is with tremendous humility that I would like to thank Sister Lucille Dean and Dr. Tony Aretz, along with the Search Committee, for the gracious nature in which they have presented me with the role of managing the Athletic Department,” Gantt says. “It is an honor to return and serve UGF as a member of the President’s Leadership Team.”     

Gantt’s hire was the result of a two month long search conducted by the university’s Athletic Director Search Committee. The committee narrowed the candidates down to two finalists. Newly hired President Dr. Aretz then selected Gantt from those two finalists.

“Dave is not only an alum of UGF, but he has extensive experience in both coaching and administration at all levels of intercollegiate athletics. I am excited about where he will be able to take the Argos athletic program in the future,” Dr. Aretz says of Gantt.  “I expect we will see not only new programs, but also even more success in the region and at the national tournaments.”

With over 25 years of coaching and administrative experience at the high school, NAIA, NCAA Div. I, and international level, Gantt brings a vast and varied skillset to a still young Argo athletic program. Most recently, he has rebuilt the Gonzaga University women’s volleyball program, coaching the Zags to their winningest season since 1994 and raising the team’s RPI from 272 to 91 over the course of six seasons. Gantt will be stepping down from the position to join UGF.

Prior to his time at Gonzaga, Gantt served as the Director of Athletics, Intramurals, and Recreation at MSU-Northern. At MSUN, he was a member of the Chancellors Senior Staff and helped create and implement numerous athletic fundraising initiatives that remain highly functioning sources of revenue for the department, such as the Athletics Corporate Sponsorship Program and the “Spring Fling Auction.”

Gantt also has administrative experience at the NCAA Div. I level after serving as the Senior Associate Athletic Director-External Operations at Montana State University from 2003-05. While at MSU, he oversaw the department’s external relations, media relations, athletic development, corporate development, and marketing.

The move to Great Falls, Montana is a return home for Gantt, who attended the then College of Great Falls from 1976-78; graduating with a BS in Business Administration and Physical Education. During that time, his coaching career began. At the suggestion of Father Francis McInnis, the young Gantt joined UGF basketball coaching legend Ray Dodds as a student assistant.

“During my time as an undergrad, the CGF community helped shepherd me in a very positive direction.  I am forever indebted to Father Francis McInnis for his guidance during my time as a student, and to Coach Ray Dodds for my participation as a student assistant for Men’s Basketball at CGF,” Gantt says.  “Although they may not have known it, they helped me define some critical parameters for my continued growth; both personally and professionally.”

After leaving Great Falls, Gantt earned an MS in Physical Education at Montana State University and then climbed through the volleyball coaching ranks to take over the Oregon State University women’s volleyball program in 1991, his first of three NCAA Div. I head coach positions. Gantt left OSU to become the Head Volleyball Coach at MSU from 1994-02, finishing his tenure with the most wins in program history and a 159-96 record.

At every stop of his career before Gonzaga, Gantt has also been an adjunct professor, teaching Health and Physical Education classes along with his coaching and administrative duties. His paradigm for success has been solidified during his time at Gonazaga, approaching athletic success with a philosophy coined by Gonzaga Athletic Director Mike Roth, “winning the 3 C’s” – “Win in the Classroom, Win on the Court, and Win in the Community.” Gantt believes this model will fit perfectly with Argo Athletics.

“In my conversations with Dr. Aretz, it became very clear that our mission is to develop well educated and prepared students, while intentionally planning for their development in becoming service oriented leaders,” Gantt says. “We think competitive Athletics provides an excellent venue for coaches to intentionally enhance our formal academic curriculums with the experiential piece that is leadership, as our student athletes move toward becoming ‘Champions of Character’ and become more prepared for ‘living and making a living’.”

Both Gantt and Dr. Aretz will begin their time at the University of Great Falls on July 1, 2016.

“Given Dr. Aretz’s vision for Athletics, coupled with the commitment of support from Providence Health and Services, I’m excited to experience what lies ahead for the University of Great Falls, for Argo Athletics, for UGF Alumni, as well as for the community of Great Falls.  I envision a very engaging growth opportunity on many levels, as well as an enhanced presence for all of the current and future stakeholders,” Gantt says.   

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