By the end of The House That Rob Built, you'll understand.
You'll understand why Rob Selvig is considered a legend in the women's basketball scene.
You'll understand why former player after former player can barely talk about him without a tear in their eyes.
You'll understand why up-and-coming women's basketball players would spend their college days in Missoula, Montana.
You'll understand just how special of a coach and how special of a human being Rob Selvig is and how much he's helped shape women's basketball and, perhaps more importantly, the lives of his players.
Co-directed by Jonathan Cipiti and Megan Harrington, the latter herself a former Lady Griz and now filmmaker, The House That Rob Built is in some ways your usual inspirational sports doc but in other ways it poignantly and powerfully captures the human being behind one of collegiate women's basketball's most winningest coaches and, as well, the human beings behind him.
Rob Selvig was the head coach of the women's basketball team at the University of Montana from 1978-2016. In those 38 years, he amassed 865 wins, 24 conference championships, 21 NCAA Tournament appearances, was named Conference Coach of the Year 21 times, was in the Top 10 of winningest coaches in women's basketball history, and had 151 Academic All-Americans.
Guided by Selvig, The Lady Griz blossomed once Title IX came along and required parity among men's and women's sports on the college level. It brought equal funding, equal scholarships, and greater equity in facilities. Yet, when it comes down to opportunity you'd be hard-pressed to top the efforts of Selvig, whose coaching reputation included a fierce devotion to recruiting from the small towns and one-room schoolhouses of Big Sky country while also recruiting heavily from the area's sprawling Native reservations. He expected greatness from his teams and his teams responded with greatness.
Long before it started to be normal for women to be on the bench, Selvig surrounded himself with female assistant coaches and often times pulled these coaches from the ranks of his former players. He created something special in Missoula, a family of basketball players who took the responsibilities of both, being family and being a player, equally seriously.
Picked up by indie distributor 1091 Pictures, The House That Rob Built arrives on digital/VOD on February 23rd and it's the kind of film that fans of inspirational sports flicks will want to watch and it's a definite must-see for fans of women's basketball.
If you're not a fan of women's basketball, what are you waiting for?
Cipiti and Harrington capture the wonder that women's basketball became in Missoula, but they also capture all of the ingredients, personal and professional, that helped turn Selvig into a winning coach and a coach who emphasized a winning formula of family, faith, and hard work. There's a tenderness to the filmmaking here that genuinely inspires, devoid of schmaltz in favor of honestly telling an engaging story about an engaging and compelling basketball coach.
For more information on The House That Rob Built, visit the film's website linked to in the credits.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic