UMW News BureauTwo winters ago, Montana Western senior and Bulldog basketball guard Terry Hauser had a watershed moment while working for his father’s Three Forks, Mont. drilling and pump business. It was a particularly cold day, and he and his brother had just finished fixing a frozen hydrant. “I remember looking at my brother on the way home and saying, ‘Man, I can’t do this the rest of my life. I’m going back to school,’” Hauser recalls. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Terry Hauser practicing at the Keltz Arena."][/caption] Two winters ago, Montana Western senior and Bulldog basketball guard Terry Hauser had a watershed moment while working for his father’s Three Forks, Mont. drilling and pump business. It was a particularly cold day, and he and his brother had just finished fixing a frozen hydrant. “I remember looking at my brother on the way home and saying, ‘Man, I can’t do this the rest of my life. I’m going back to school,’” Hauser recalls. It was not the first time 24-year old Hauser decided to go to college. In 2003, he began attending Montana Western as an education major in health and human performance. He red-shirted as a guard on the men’s team under Montana Western athletic director Mark Durham who was then head coach of the men’s varsity basketball team. Although he had great athletic and academic promise, the high demands placed upon college student athletes slowly took their toll. Collegiate basketball was much faster and more physical, and Hauser did not see the playing minutes he was used to in high school. Hauser soon found himself unmotivated both on the court and in the classroom. In 2006, Durham made what he called a very difficult decision in cutting Hauser from the team. That same year, Hauser left Montana Western and returned to Three Forks to work for his father. Hauser says the nearly two years he spent working gave him greater clarity and perspective on his life. Basketball and education were never far from his thoughts or daily life. Hauser continued playing basketball regularly and even helped coach the Three Forks high school basketball team. “I learned a lot there,” Hauser says. “I was learning where the coaches were coming from and how a team has to gel to win. I learned little things like how not to shoot every time I touch the ball. I matured a lot through that time.” As part of a strong basketball tradition at Three Forks High School, Hauser again found himself talking with his former coach Mark Durham, also a Three Forks native. Bulldog men’s basketball head coach Steve Keller is friends with Three Forks High School head coach Mike Sauvageau, and beginning in 2007, Hauser’s three former coaches began wooing him back to Montana Western. The idea of taking on the hectic schedule of a student athlete gave Hauser pause at first, but returning to Montana Western proved to be the right move. “I didn’t really know if I wanted to make that jump or not,” Hauser explains. “Coming back to the same school made it easier.” Hauser was initially part of the pilot program for Montana Western’s Experience One block scheduling system. During the program, an entire class split their semesters between the traditional multi-class system and Experience One, which allows students to take one class at a time. Hauser says he often missed class under the traditional system, but upon his return to UMW he began missing fewer, if any, classes. “You can’t miss classes in the block,” Hauser says. “You just miss too much, even in one class.” Day by day, Hauser found his stride and quickly excelled both in the classroom and on the court. Last semester, he carried a 3.3 GPA and is well on his way to graduate in the fall of 2010. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Bulldog varsity basketball head coach Steve Keller shares a laugh with Terry Hauser at a recent practice."][/caption] On the court this season (for conference and non-conference games), Hauser is playing an average of 29 minutes per game and is averaging 11.9 points while shooting nearly 94 percent from the free-throw line. Hauser is particularly deadly from the arc; the long-distance shooter has hit 53 three-pointers already this season. Coach Keller goes so far as to call Hauser one of college basketball’s best three-point shooters in the country. As good as he is doing in basketball, Hauser’s degree is the top order of business this time around. “I was here to play basketball,” Hauser admits of his first years at Montana Western. “Now I realize school is the priority.” Hauser works that priority to the top of a daily schedule jammed with two and a half hours of practice and one and a half hours of weightlifting, which is not to mention time spent traveling to and from games. It’s a demanding schedule, but Montana Western Athletic Director Mark Durham says Hauser is rising to the challenge. “I'm very proud of Terry for coming back and giving it another shot,” Durham says. “He has grown up a ton in the academic area and in his maturity level. It was never a question of whether he was good enough to play. That part comes easy for him.” Head coach Steve Keller shares Durham’s pride, but says he is particularly proud of Hauser’s academic achievements. “Terry came back and has been a very productive player and leader for the Bulldogs,” Keller says. “I am more proud of Terry for his work in the classroom and the fact that he will walk out of Montana Western with his teaching degree. It has been a pleasure and an honor coaching Terry the past two years.” Such kind words from two of Hauser’s close mentors vindicate his decision to return to college and Montana Western. “I had to re-earn everybody’s confidence,” Hauser says. “I wanted to prove to everybody that I could still do this.” As the Bulldogs opened their home conference play against Lewis-Clark State College on Friday, Jan. 15, Hauser took to the court as a senior student athlete even more eager to prove himself during his last year of college basketball.