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Montana women's basketball coach Robin Selvig retires

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MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) Montana women's basketball coach Robin Selvig announced his retirement Wednesday after 38 years at the school.

Selvig, who turns 64 next month, announced the decision on the university's website, saying he will be at the school until the end of August. The Big Sky Conference school will hold a press conference Thursday.

Selvig was 865-286 at Montana to tie for seventh on the Division I career victory list.

''Over 38 years, there weren't many days It wasn't excited to come to work, but I've started to lose that excitement,'' Selvig said in the school's release. ''The players have always given me their best. When you wear down a little, you start to wonder: Can I still give them my best? I don't like that question, and I don't like that feeling. I don't like not being fired up for next year. The players deserve me at my best, and I don't know if I have the energy to keep doing it. There are mixed feelings, but I think the time is right.''

A former men's star at Montana, Selvig built Montana into one of the better and most-consistent mid-major programs in the country, finishing with 36 winning seasons, 31 20-victory seasons, 24 conference championships and 21 NCAA tournament appearances.

Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma took time to praise Selvig on Wednesday night in Delaware after directing the U.S. Olympic team to an exhibition victory over France.

''We were just talking about him today at the meal room, (DePaul coach and U.S. assistant) Doug Bruno and I,'' Auriemma said. ''Coaches that have been in the game a long time and aren't in the women's basketball Hall of Fame that are still coaching. He's definitely one of them. He did it in a place that not too many people out in the media are paying attention. He's had as great a career as you can without winning a national championship that you can want to have as a coach.''

The Lady Griz were 20-11 last season.

''This has nothing to do with the players,'' Selvig said. ''They've always been great and fun to be around. That's what I'm going to miss. But every job has its good parts and bad parts, and the bad parts started outweighing the good. I would feel guilty if I couldn't look the girls in the eye because I knew I wasn't able to give them my best.''

Selvig was honored as the conference coach of the year 21 times.

''I've been extremely fortunate to experience the things I have with the people I have. I've been blessed,'' Selvig said. ''Your lives become intertwined, and that's what makes it a family. You're invested not only in coaching them, you're invested in them when lots of things are going on in their lives. Those relationships are as special to me as anything.

''What we shared will never change or be taken away from us. Sharing young women's lives for four or five years, that's where the rewards come from. I've been lucky I got to share that with them. It's been special.''

Selvig played his final three seasons for the Grizzlies under coach Jud Heathcote.

''I look forward to being able to see my boys and my granddaughter a little more,'' Selvig said.