Loyola Sacred Heart is calling on a familiar face to fill its boys’ basketball coaching vacancy. Eddie Stack has been part of the program since the late ’90s, save a five-year stint away playing college ball.
Stack, a 2001 Loyola graduate and former all-state forward for the Rams, will take over the head coaching job in the wake of longtime head man Scott Anderson’s resignation earlier this spring, the school announced Thursday. Stack was previously an assistant within the program for the past seven seasons.
“It’s really a big honor to take over the program and especially from Scott who has been there for so long,” Stack said of stepping in for the 24-year coach who led Stack’s high school teams to three State B tournaments during the latter’s prep playing days. “It’s a pretty big deal for me and a lifelong dream.”
Following graduation from the Missoula Catholic Schools system, Stack attended Rocky Mountain College in Billings and continued playing basketball, his teams twice making the NAIA national tournament. After earning his degree, the former player returned to Missoula where both he and his wife have family.
He quickly began teaching – first at St. Joseph Elementary and most recently at the high school – and came on as an assistant hoops coach. Last season Stack served as a co-head coach for the school’s freshman squad and an assistant at the junior varsity level.
“He’s Superman. I loved him when he was in high school,” said Anderson, who was not involved in the hiring process at his own request. “... Eddie’s got the energy and he’s excited. It’s the dream to hand it over to a guy like that to run our program.”
Stack acknowledged that his title change comes with some mixed emotions because of the man he is replacing.
“You’re losing a great coach, but I’m tremendously excited to take over. It’s a big step for me professionally,” said Stack, who became a new father just last month to a baby girl.
Serving under the successful Loyola coaching institution – Anderson amassed a 434-177 record with 11 state trips and four third-place trophies – helped Stack learn the coaching game himself, he continued.
“Almost too much to say,” he beamed. “What I’ve really learned from Scott is from him as a positive person and how he motivated the kids. He really sets an example with his leadership.”
Anderson stepped down in late March to spend more time with his family. His son, JJ, graduated this spring and recently committed to play basketball at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Washington. The elder Anderson wouldn’t be able to watch his all-state son compete in college while continuing to coach.
Anderson will remain in his teaching position at the high school, though.
Along with point guard JJ Anderson, the Rams lost five other seniors off a team that went 16-8 last season, including four of five starters.
“We’re going to be a little lacking on experience because we had a big senior class last year, but they’ve got a lot of skill,” Stack said, turning his attention to next year’s squad. “Last year’s junior class will not fall short of (the graduated seniors), especially in basketball.”
Coach Stack’s Rams open their 2014-15 campaign at the Three Forks Invitational Tip-Off Tournament on Dec. 12.
Stack’s brother and another former Loyola Ram, Toby, coached Hamilton’s boys basketball team for the past eight seasons before resigning as well this spring.