They called him "Monte," long before we had a lovable mascot by that name. And he was a big part of what made University of Montana Grizzly basketball a must-see event over 30 years ago.

Our congratulations to former University of Montana basketball coach Mike Montgomery. And our thanks to UM Sports Information Director Eric Taber for the big news.

Coach Montgomery, along with six prolific players and another highly successful coach, will be inducted into the National Association of College Basketball’s (NABC’s), College Basketball Hall of Fame on Nov. 18 in Kansas City.

Montgomery and the Hall of Fame’s class of 2016 will also be on hand at the Final Four in Houston, and will be introduced on the court during the semi-finals on Saturday, April 2.

Joining Montgomery in the Hall of Fame class of 2016 are players Mark Aguirre from DePaul, Kansas State’s Bob Boozer, Illinois State’s Doug Collins, La Salle’s Lionel Simmons, UCLA’s Jamaal Wilkes and “the human highlight film”, Georgia’s Dominque Wilkins.

Also being inducted to the Hall of Fame is coach Hugh Durham, the only coach in the history of Division I basketball to lead two different schools to the NCAA Final Four, doing so with Florida State (1972) and Georgia (1983).

Coach Montgomery (pictured back in his days as Griz head man) led the Grizzlies for eight seasons between 1978 and 1986, racking up 155 wins, highlighted by four-straight 20-plus win seasons, and eight-straight trips to the Big Sky Championship tournament. His overall record with the Griz was 155-76, for a 67 percent winning average.

After his time at Montana, Montgomery would go on to become one of the most successful coaches in the history of the Pac-12, taking over a Stanford program that had not advanced to the NCAA Tournament since winning the national title in 1942, Montgomery transformed the Cardinal into a perennial power, eclipsing the 20-win mark in just his second season at the helm. In his third season, he guided his team to a 26-7 record and the school’s return to the NCAA Tournament.

At Stanford, Montgomery reached the tournament 12 times with 10-straight second-round appearances and a trip to the 1998 Final Four and was named the 2000 Naismith College Coach of the Year.

Montgomery also led the 2010 California Golden Bears to a Pac-12 title, four NCAA tournament appearances, and two appearances in the NIT, becoming the only Cal coach to take the Bears to six consecutive postseason appearances.

He served as a mentor to current Montana head coach Travis DeCuire, and current Grizzly Director of Basketball Operations Marlon Stewart during their time at Cal as well.

After his run of success at Montana, Stanford and Cal, Montgomery was awarded the John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.

The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame is located in the College Basketball Experience (CBE), Kansas City’s Sprint Center, which will serve as the venue of the annual CBE Hall of Fame Classic. The annual four-team tournament will take place at the end of the enshrinement weekend on Monday, November 21, and Tuesday, November 22. Hey, maybe they'll include Montana, Stanford and Cal!  DB