Continental Basketball Association (1980-1983)
Born: 1980 – The Hawaii Volcanos relocate to Billings, MT
Arena: Yellowstone Metra (10,500)
Team Colors: Scarlet & Gold
Owner: Jim West
CBA Championships: None
The Billings Volcanos were a minor league basketball outfit in the Continental Basketball Association for three seasons from 1980 to 1983. The franchise started out in Honolulu, Hawaii – where the club’s (misspelled) name made more geographic and geologic sense – in 1979, before moving across the country to Billings.
During the club’s first season in Montana, management narrowed the list of head coaching finalists to two candidates. Ultimately they selected Dick Hammond, a youth basketball coach from Nashua, New Hampshire. The runner-up? NBA veteran Phil Jackson, also seeking his first pro coaching gig. Jackson would later hook on with the CBA’s Albany Patroons, before moving up to the NBA and winning 11 world championships. Dick Hammond does not have a Wikipedia page.
During the 1981-82 season, the Volcanos signed former University of Pittsburgh star Sam Clancy. Midway through the season, Clancy slugged Ron Valentine of the Montana Golden Nuggets and broke his cheekbone during a game at the METRA in Billings. Valentine was one of the top scorers in the CBA at the time. Clancy was suspended three weeks. Although he didn’t play football at Pitt, Clancy later signed with the Pittsburgh Maulers of the United States Football League in 1984, thus beginning a 10-year pro football career as a defensive end in the USFL and the NFL.
The Volcanos appeared in the CBA championships series at the end of the 1981-82 season, losing to the Lancaster Lightning 4 games to 1.
The Volcanos folded at the end of the 1982-83 season.