Wanty-UMWRay Wanty is a Dillon, Mont., native and 1977 graduate of Beaverhead County High School. Coach Wanty is a member of the 1982 Montana Western class.

Coach Wanty has been an assistant with the University of Montana Western men's basketball team for four years. During his time with the Bulldogs they have qualified for the NAIA National Tournament in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Prior to his time at UMW, he was a Montana state high school coach for 20 years. He served as the head basketball coach at Belfry, Opheim and Shelby High Schools during that time. Wanty had seven state qualifying teams and his 2008 Shelby High School team won the state championship. He was named the conference coach of the year seven times throughout his career.

During his playing career, he was a first team all-state Class A player for BCHS in 1977 and a member of the 1982 Montana Western Frontier Conference championship team.

During his time at Montana Western as a student-athlete he was named to the Dean's List and a member of Kappa Delta Pi.

Ray has two children Tori, 28, and Trey, 25. 

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Matt Strickland, originally from Inglewood, California is entering his first season as the Men’s Basketball Associate Head Coach at the University of Montana Western. Matt was previously the Women’s Basketball Assistant Coach at Gillette College in Gillette, Wyoming.  In the 2015-16 season, Coach Strickland helped the Lady Pronghorns to its first Region IX Championship and NJCAA DI Women’s National Tournament appearance in program history, finishing with a 24-11 overall record and a 15-1 record in Region IX play. Strickland’s responsibilities included assisting in all basketball operations, coordination of team travel, pregame & postgame team arrangements, monitoring academic progress, and recruiting coordination. His on the floor coaching responsibilities included implementing team’s offensive plays and strategies. Strickland was also in charge of skill development with team’s perimeter players, as well as the Strength and Conditioning program. Over the course of two seasons, Strickland coached a NJCAA DI All-American, Four Region IX All-Conference players, and has helped players move on to Division I, Division II and NAIA programs.

Prior to being hired on for the position, Matt played point guard for Coach Neary and the Gillette College Pronghorns from 2010-2012. Matt still holds the single season record for 3pt FG% at 43% and is third on the singles season assist record with 91 for the 2011-12 season. After two years with the Pronghorns, Strickland transferred to Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana where he helped the Battlin’ Bears win back to back Frontier Conference Titles from 2012-2014, and reached the NAIA National Tournament in both seasons. Matt received his Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science with a Minor in Coaching Theories from Rocky Mountain College in 2015.

Matt played his high school basketball for legendary Coach Mike Lynch and Price High School in Los Angeles, California from 2006-2009, where he was able to help the Knights win the CIF Southern Section title in the 2008-2009 season. After leaving Price, Matt later transferred to Mount Pleasant High School in Mount Pleasant, Michigan for his senior season where they were the Saginaw Valley League Champions before losing in the Class A Elite Eight playoffs. Strickland was a 2010 Class A All-State honorable mention selection.   

Personal: Matt is the son of Susan and Wendell Strickland, and has three siblings Chris, Miles, and Morgan. 

Steve Keller, Head Coach

IMG 2973Steve Keller begins his tenth season as the head coach of the Bulldogs. Under Keller, the Bulldogs have averaged twenty wins per season and have been to the NAIA national tournament six of the last seven seasons. The Bulldogs have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen three times and the Elite Eight once.

Keller has coached six NAIA All Americans at Montana Western in the past seven seasons: Shyke Smalls and Dexter Williams, Jr. in 2016, Williams, Jr. and Stephen McCall in 2015, Jake Owsley in 2013, Kyle Erickson in 2012, and Brandon Brown in 2012 and 2011. Brown was also named MVP of the conference both years and was a two time First Team NAIA All American. He currently plays professionally in Poland. Dexter Williams, Jr. recently signed a pro basketball contract in China.

Keller’s coaching career began in Opheim, Montana, where he coached both boys and girls for seven years, followed by a nineteen year stint at Helena High School; at Helena High he also led both the boys’ and girls’ programs. Keller’s teams played in twelve state championship games, winning the state title six times--three at Opheim and three at Helena High.

Inducted into the Montana Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2005, Keller has compiled a high school coaching record of 610 – 180. Before coming to Montana Western, he was an assistant for three years at Carroll College under Coach Gary Turcott. During two of those seasons, Carroll qualified for the national tournament, advancing to the Fab Four and Elite Eight.

Keller is a 1974 graduate of Custer High School in Custer, Montana, and is a 1978 graduate of Rocky Mountain College. He received his master’s degree from Northern Montana College.

Steve and his wife, Mary Kay, have two sons. Wes is the head women’s basketball coach at Rocky Mountain College, and Josh is the head girls’ and boys’ basketball coach at Twin Bridges High School. Both Wes and Josh earned their degrees from Montana Western and played basketball for the Bulldogs under Coach Mark Durham. Steve and Mary Kay also have three daughters: Shandi, who recently completed eleven years of service in the army as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot; Hayley, a kindergarten teacher in Montana City, and Nicole, a junior at MSU Billings. They are also the proud grandparents of twins Hayden and Tucker (9), Cassie (6), Kansas (4), and Neisa (10 months). 

IMG 2973Steve Keller begins his tenth season as the head coach of the Bulldogs. Under Keller, the Bulldogs have averaged twenty wins per season and have been to the NAIA national tournament six of the last seven seasons. The Bulldogs have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen three times and the Elite Eight once.

Keller has coached six NAIA All Americans at Montana Western in the past seven seasons: Shyke Smalls and Dexter Williams, Jr. in 2016, Williams, Jr. and Stephen McCall in 2015, Jake Owsley in 2013, Kyle Erickson in 2012, and Brandon Brown in 2012 and 2011. Brown was also named MVP of the conference both years and was a two time First Team NAIA All American. He currently plays professionally in Poland. Dexter Williams, Jr. recently signed a pro basketball contract in China.

Keller’s coaching career began in Opheim, Montana, where he coached both boys and girls for seven years, followed by a nineteen year stint at Helena High School; at Helena High he also led both the boys’ and girls’ programs. Keller’s teams played in twelve state championship games, winning the state title six times--three at Opheim and three at Helena High.

Inducted into the Montana Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2005, Keller has compiled a high school coaching record of 610 – 180. Before coming to Montana Western, he was an assistant for three years at Carroll College under Coach Gary Turcott. During two of those seasons, Carroll qualified for the national tournament, advancing to the Fab Four and Elite Eight.

Keller is a 1974 graduate of Custer High School in Custer, Montana, and is a 1978 graduate of Rocky Mountain College. He received his master’s degree from Northern Montana College.

Steve and his wife, Mary Kay, have two sons. Wes is the head women’s basketball coach at Rocky Mountain College, and Josh is the head girls’ and boys’ basketball coach at Twin Bridges High School. Both Wes and Josh earned their degrees from Montana Western and played basketball for the Bulldogs under Coach Mark Durham. Steve and Mary Kay also have three daughters: Shandi, who recently completed eleven years of service in the army as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot; Hayley, a kindergarten teacher in Montana City, and Nicole, a junior at MSU Billings. They are also the proud grandparents of twins Hayden and Tucker (9), Cassie (6), Kansas (4), and Neisa (10 months).