HAVRE — Thirty-five years ago, Jerry Wagner began his college coaching career with the Northern Montana College Skylights volleyball team.
On Thursday, after stops at Oregon State, Gonzaga, Montana, and Texas-El Paso, Wagner’s coaching career came full circle when he was officially introduced as the new head coach of the MSU-Northern volleyball team once again.
Wagner replaces Rose Obunaga, who resigned her position in November after two years in Havre and a 10-42 overall record. The Skylights managed just a 1-24 mark in 2018.
Though Wagner has seen a lot in his career and coached volleyball at some of the highest levels, the Havre native and Northern alumnus said he’s just as enthusiastic about coaching the Skylights now as he was in the 1980s.
“Every year I come back and spend time with family and friends, and things grow on you,” he said. “And it was just my time to come back. I had my run with all of that and still had some opportunities, but this is something I feel like I can turn around. That’s what I’d like to do, I’d like to turn it back in the right direction. I remember when it was a proud program, so it’s been surreal coming back and it’s been good in all the right ways. I’m anxious to be back.”
Wagner was most recently an assistant at UTEP, but before that he coached the Montana Grizzlies for nine seasons and amassed a record of 102-147, including a 74-78 mark in Big Sky Conference play before stepping down in 2014.
He met with the team for the first time on Thursday morning and says his first steps will be getting Skylights on the court to see what they’re capable of and hitting the recruiting trail to address team needs.