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Casper College men's basketball head coach Dan Russell talks with his team during their final practice on March 15 at Swede Erickson Thunderbird Gym.

Casper College men’s basketball coach Dan Russell, who led the Thunderbirds to their first Region IX championship in 23 years, was recently honored as the region’s coach of the year.

Russell guided the team to a 32-3 record, a No. 6 national ranking and a berth in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Championships in his sixth year as the T-Birds’ head coach.

The 32 victories tied for the second-most in program history and the .914 winning percentage tied the 1969-70 team for the best mark in the T-Birds’ 72-year history.

Casper College was unranked in the NJCAA Preseason Top 25 but entered the rankings at No. 15 in the Dec. 4 poll and remained in the Top 25 the rest of the season.

Russell, who has won at least 20 games every year, has a career record of 145-52 for a winning percentage of .736. He trails only Swede Erickson (638-220 from 1958-86) and Ed Toohey (177-140 from 1993-2003) for career wins. And his winning percentage is third behind Walter Dowler (.778 in the 1946-47 season) and Erickson (.743).

A 2004 graduate of Natrona County High School, Russell was a two-year starter for the T-Birds and served as an assistant coach for five years before taking over for Joel Davidson.

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Sports Editor

Jack Nowlin returned to the Star-Tribune in 2007 after eight years covering Michigan State University athletics. A Wyoming native, and a graduate of Jeffrey City High School and the University of Wyoming, Jack serves as the Star-Tribune’s sports editor.

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