Montana Coaches Association MEDIA RELEASE
Don Olsen, MCA Executive Director is pleased to announce the following:
National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) “Athletic Director OF THE YEAR”
Gary DeGooyer, Great Falls Athletic Director, was selected as the National Athletic Director of the Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) on Wednesday, June 21st at their National Convention in Peoria, IL. Gary was one of 8 AD finalists from around the nation.
National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) “COACH OF THE YEAR”
Derek Schulz, Whitefish Boys’ Track and Field Coach, was selected as the NHSACA National Boys’ Track and Field Coach of the Year, on Wednesday. He was Montana’s 2017 “Boys’ T&F” nominee and one of 8 national finalists.
Other Montana finalists for NHSACA “Coach of the Year” were: Paul Barta-Columbus, BBB; Mark Albert-Hamilton, GCC; Les Meyer-Fairfield, FB; Gregg Wasson-Harlowton, GO; Larry Smith-Polson, SB; Julie O’Dell-Hardin, Special Sports; Tad Schye-Malta, GT&F and Iona Stookey-Huntley Project, VB
Montana finalists for NHSACA “Assistant Coach of the Year” were: Dick McMahon-Helena Capital, Boys’ Assistant and Jim Kola-Glacier, Girls’ Assistant.
NHSACA HALL OF FAME:
Bill Epperly (Flathead HS) was Montana’s inductee into the NHSACA Hall of Fame on Wednesday, in Peoria, IL (this was publicized in February). Bill received his award at a special ceremony in Kalispell on May 12th, due to health Issues that prevented him from attending the national awards ceremony.
Award winners, Bill Epperly, Gary DeGooyer and Derek Schulz, as well as the finalists, will be recognized at the MCA Awards Ceremony at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 3rd, in the Great Falls High School Auditorium during the 50th Annual Montana Coaches Association Multi-Sports Coaching Clinic. After the awards ceremony, a complimentary luncheon will be served. Friends and family are welcome to attend.
The Montana Coaches Association is proud to announce that 11 Montana coaches will be inducted into the MCA Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be a part of the 11:30 MCA Awards Ceremony (in conjunction with the MCA Coaches Clinic), on Thursday, August 3, 2017, in the GFHS Auditorium. Family and friends are invited. All attendees are invited to a complimentary luncheon in the cafeteria immediately following the ceremony.
This is largest class of inductees since the initial years of 1982 and 1983. Many applicants and inductees are the result of dedicated baby-boomers rounding out long and successful careers. Congratulations to these 11 long-serving, outstanding coaches!
The name, Scott Filius, is synonymous with wrestling excellence in Montana. A 25-year veteran of the coaching profession, Scott has spent 22 years in the Big Sky Country. He has 12 state championships, tying him in 2nd place for the most state championships in MT history. His last 5-in-a-row championships put Coach Filius and his Havre program in a position seldom attained. Scott is a 12-time MCA Coach of the Year and an incredible 18-time MCA COY nominee. He is also a member of the MSU Northern Hall of Fame.
A 32-year coach and MCA member, Rick Goodman is no stranger in gyms around the state. In his career coaching boys’ and girls’ basketball in a half-dozen schools (Moore, Fergus, Westby, Belt, GFHS and Centerville), Rick has accumulated over 500 wins. His teams hold one state championship, two second-place finishes and 4 divisional championships. He is an MCA Coach of the Year and a 3-time MCA COY nominee as well as a 9-time district COY. Rick was inducted into the Montana High School HOF and the UGF HOF.
Steve served in the coaching ranks for 32 years, 27 of those years as the girls’ tennis head mentor at Billings West. While at West, he led the Lady Golden Bears to 10 state championships, 5 second-place finishes and 4 thirds, along with 18 divisional titles. He is an 8-time nominee for MCA “Coach of the Year” and was a NHSACA Region 7 COY and a NFICA National COY. Coach Handley has served on various national and state tennis committees and he continues to volunteer in organizing competitions for the Billings SD#.
Coach Hislop has coached for 36 years and has been an MCA member for 35. He has experienced success at every level and in a variety of sports, including basketball and track, but his greatest achievements have been in his 26-year tenure as the Polson Tennis Coach. His tennis teams have 8 top-4 finishes including 3 state championships and 2 runner-up spots, along with and amazing 18 divisional titles. He is an 8-time MCA COY nominee and a 3-time winner. Bob was also a finalist for NHSACA Tennis COY and spoke at that national convention. Coach Hislop is also state Class A Tennis Tournament director.
Thirty of Coach Lynn McMillan’s 32 years of coaching were spent in Montana, from Fairview to Deer Lodge with stops at Lavina, Edgar, Clyde Park, Plenty Coups and Winnett. His longest tenure was at Fergus, where he devoted 18 years. Over the years, McMillan’s teams have notched 5 divisional championships, one 3rd place state trophy, 3 runner-up titles and 2 state championships. Lynn is a 3-time MCA “Coach of the Year” and 7-time nominee, and has coached numerous all-star games.
Dan has spent 27 of his 31 years of coaching in the Big Sky Country with stops at Forsyth, Arlee and most recently Missoula Big Sky. While he has coached both football and basketball along the way, his 23 years as track coach at Big Sky stand out. His Big Sky T&F teams have garnered 4 divisional titles, 7 state trophies and 3 state championships. Earlier at Arlee, his teams collected 3 divisional titles and 3 state trophies. He also holds two divisional football championships. Coach Nile has coached in 3 all-star football games, has been nominated for MCA COY 13 times and won the honor 3 times. Dan was also the Gill US Western Region COY in 2013.
A 42-year veteran of the coaching wars, with 35 as head mentor, Coach Norden has spent a big part of his life on the hardwood. After short stints in Beach, ND, Westby and Poplar, he settled in Boulder where he has spent 34 years – 19 heading up Panther programs. After retirement, Dick spent 2 years assisting women’s basketball at Carroll. Now he is back at JHS where he continues to assist the Jefferson boys’ basketball program. With a state championship at both Westby and Jefferson, his teams hold 10 conference championships, along with 8 district trophies and 3 divisional titles. Norden is a 39-year MCA member and has served on various MHSA committees. He is a 2-time MCA “Coach of the Year” and was nominated 4 times for the same honor. Dick was also honored as Class B “AD of the Year”.
Coach Sauvageau has been coaching basketball for 32 years, while also serving as AD for 29 of those years. Only two schools have benefited from Mike’s coaching abilities; Harrison for 11 seasons and Three Forks the past 21 years. With over 600 hardcourt victories (437-boys & 252 girls), Mike’s teams have won the conference 17 times, along with 11 district championships and 6 divisional titles. While claiming one state title and placing 3rd twice, he has led the Three Forks Wolves to 10 state tournaments. A 5-time MCA “Coach of the Year” nominee and one-time winner, Sauvageau was also a Class B ”AD of the Year” and recently named All-Class “AD of the Year”. Mike has served as head coach in the Billings Senior Classic for the past 24 years.
Theodore (Tad) Schye
Coach Schye has been in the coaching ranks for 26 years, all at Malta High School. While serving as an assistant football coach, he helped the Mustangs to 6 State Championship appearances, winning 3 of them; however, it is in the Track and Field arena that his record shines. His teams have won 16 district titles, 12 divisional crowns and 10 state trophies, including 4 state titles. He has served on a variety of MHSA committees and has been involved in directing numerous meets and tournaments. As a 27-year MCA member, he is a 5-time MCA “Coach of the Year” and 15-time nominee. Tad has also been a NHSACA National COY finalist on 4 occasions.
The sport of Softball and Polson High School have been fortunate to have Coach Smith involved for 31 years, 29 serving as head mentor. He has guided his Polson Pirates to 11 conference titles and an incredible 11 state trophies, 7 of them being state crowns. A 9-time MCA COY nominee and a 5-time winner, he was also named Regional COY 4 times and has been a NHSACA national finalist 3 times. Coach Smith is a 30 year MCA member.
30 years ago, Iona began coaching volleyball and now, with an unbelievable record of over 700 wins, she is still at it. Coach Stookey has spent the last 27 years at Huntley Project after a short stint at Shepherd High. During her outstanding career, her teams have garnered 16 conference titles, 13 district crowns and 13 divisional championships. 17 times her teams have brought home a trophy from the state volleyball championships, 9 of which were title trophies. She is a 17-time MCA COY nominee and a 9-time winner. A 3-time NHSACA Volleyball COY finalist, an MHSA Volleyball committee representative, a 3-time NHSACA National Volleyball COY finalist, and a member of the MSU-B Hall of Fame are some of the highlights of her outstanding career.
Montana Coaches Association MEDIA RELEASE
Montana Coaches Association is pleased to announce that long-time Montana coach,
Bill Epperly – Flathead High School,
will be inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) HALL OF FAME at their annual convention’s Hall of Fame Banquet, to be held at noon, June 20, 2017 in Peoria, IL. Friends and family are invited to attend: http://www.hscoaches.org/summer-convention
Bill Epperly has been a Montana coach for 49 years and is still going strong. His outstanding career began at Bozeman Rosary High School in 1959, and continues today as assistant track coach at Flathead High. 46 of those years were spent in the high school ranks and 3 in college at MT Tech.
Coach Epperly hasn’t just been coaching; he has experienced considerable success over the years. As an assistant, he has been a part of an incredible 13 state championships. As head mentor, Epperly has won two state basketball championships and finished second twice.
In 2000, Bill began coaching the boys’ and girls’ high jump at Flathead where he has had 45 divisional, 24 state placers. His fellow coaches tell us that he is a great communicator. His athletes enjoy working with him and after 49 years, Coach Epperly still has the charisma that inspires his athletes to reach their maximum potential.
A 2-time MCA Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year (1982 and 1989), Epperly was inducted into the MCA Hall of Fame in 1990. He was a 1993 nominee for National High School Basketball Coach of the Year and was inducted into the Kalispell Legends Wall of Fame in 2005.
2016 MCA Hall of Fame
The Montana Coaches Association will induct three new Hall of Fame members at 11:30 on Thursday, August 4th at the MCA Clinic Awards Ceremony in the GFHS Auditorium. Family and friends are invited. All attendees will be served a complimentary luncheon in the cafeteria immediately after the ceremony. Congratulations to these 3 outstanding coaches and fine gentlemen!
Paul Klaboe – Billings West
Coach Klaboe began his coaching career at Havre High where he served as an assistant in both FB and T&F. He moved to Billings where he assisted FB for 5 years. In 1986 he took the reins at West High where he continued until his retirement in 2015. During those 29 years, Klaboe guided the Golden Bears to an amazing 210 wins and 19 play-off appearances, making him the 12th winningest FB coach in MT and #3 in the AA ranks. As a head coach, his teams played in 8 State Championships, winning 3. He was name MCA COY 3 times and nominated on 5 other occasions. He coached the East-West Shrine game 4 years and the Mon-Dak game twice. He has spoken on numerous occasions at the Pig Skin Classic, Grizzly Clinic and the MCA Clinic and has directed a variety of football camps.
Gary Gebert – Fergus
Gary has served in the coaching ranks for 36 years, 32 as head FB mentor. After 3 years in Oklahoma, he moved to Montana, securing a position at Billings Central, heading up the Wrestling and T&F programs, while assisting in FB. Coach Gebert then moved to Poplar where he spent 3 years guiding the FB program. He was 27 years in Lewistown where he guided the Eagle FB team and assisted with WR. During his tenure at Fergus High School, Gebert guided the Eagles to 12 quarter-final appearances, 5 semi-finals and one state championship. He was named MCA COY once and was nominated on 3 other occasions. Gary served as the East-West Shrine head mentor twice and was an assistant coach 4 times. He has been a presenter at several MCA Clinics and was a 2008 delegate to the NFL Youth Football Summit. His 37 year MCA membership included 12 years as a board member. He was also a 23-year member of the MHSA Football Rules Committee.
Bernie Wasser – Malta/Beaverhead
A 29-year veteran of the coaching wars, Bernie began his high school career at Peerless where he served 4 years heading both GBB and T&F. From there he moved to Malta where he spent 12 years as Head BBB, Head T&F, Head Boys’ Golf and JH GBB coach. In 2001 he made a move to Dillon where he coached 13 years as head mentor in GBB and Boys’ and Girls’ Golf at Beaverhead County HS. He then spent one year as an assistant to the GBB program at UM Western before moving to Minot, ND where he is currently the Head GBB Coach. In Montana, Coach Wasser has amassed over 370 wins on the hard court (171 girls & 201 boys). His teams have accumulated 9 Conference championships, 5 District and 9 Divisional crowns, along with 6 top-3 finishes at State, three of these being State Championships. Coach Wasser was named MCA COY 3 times and was a nominee on 4 other occasions. He was also a nominee for National COY – Section 8 and has coached numerous All-Star teams, including the Western All-Star Game, the Radisson Senior Classic (9 years) and the Treasure State Classic (13 years). Bernie was a 29-year MCA member. He directed many track meets, served as District and Divisional Golf Meet Director and was a 17-year basketball MOA working multiple District, Divisional and State Basketball tournaments.
Montana Coaches Association
Montana Coaches Association is pleased to announce that long-time Montana track and field coach, Charlie Merrifield – Butte High School will be inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) HALL OF FAME at their annual convention’s Hall of Fame Banquet, to be held at noon June 29, 2016 at the Galt House located in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.
Friends and family are invited to attend:
Butte High School
Charlie Merrifield of Butte High School in Butte, Montana, has coached for over 62 years as both an assistant and head coach in a variety of sports, but primarily track and field. Charlie began coaching in 1954 and first served as Butte High School varsity track and field assistant coach in 1963. The Bulldogs won the state track title that spring.
Charlie remained an assistant coach until 1974, when he stepped into the track program’s head coaching role at Butte High. In his first spring as head track coach, Butte High won the state title despite not having one individual state champion. Butte High repeated as state champions in 1975, and Coach Merrifield was off and flying with a brilliant career as a head coach that extended 40 track seasons.
The list of accomplishments by Merrifield is impressive. His Bulldogs’ teams won two more state titles in 1981 and 1982. Nine more times the Butte High track team finished in the top three at the state meet to take home a trophy. Overall his teams were in the top five in team standings at the state track meet 21 times.
In his career as head coach, there were 60 times when an individual won state track championships for Butte High and seven relay teams took home gold medals. In his specialty coaching hurdles, for one memorable eight-year stretch wherein 16 individual state hurdle championship events were contested, nine of the 16 were won by one of Charlie’s athletes.
Charlie was inducted into the Montana Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1991. He is a member of the Western Montana College Hall of Fame and the Butte Sports Hall of Fame. In 2005, the track complex at Bulldog Memorial Stadium was renamed Charlie Merrifield Track in honor of a lifetime of service to the school district and its student-athletes.
In 2013, after four decades at the helm, Charlie “retired” from his head coaching position, but continues to serve as a volunteer assistant with the track and field program at Butte High School and is coaching the hurdlers still today.
Georgia Forney, Hardin Swim Coach, was selected as the National Swim Coach of the Year by the (NHSACA) National High School Athletic Coaches Association on Friday, June 20th at their National Convention in Rochester, MN. Georgia was Montana’s Swimming finalist for 2015 and joined 7 other Montana finalists in various sports.
Coach Forney has coached for 28 years, 22 as head boys’ and girls’ Swim Coach at Hardin. During those years her boys’ swim team has over 430 wins, garnering 4 State Championships and 7 runners up. She was a 2005 NHSACA COY nominee, a top-8 finalist in 2009 and 2012 as well as a 16x nominee for MCA Coach of the Year.
Dan Hodge, Flathead and Jeff Carroll-Billings Senior were Montana’s inductees into the NHSACA Hall of Fame on Friday, in Rochester (this was publicized in January-bios attached). Other finalists for Coach of the Year were: Dustin Gordon-Fairfield-Girls’ Basketball, Ann Funk-Choteau-Volleyball, Mark Garber-Centerville/Belt-Girls’ Cross Country, Terry Thomas-Beaverhead County-Football, Bob Raeth-Flathead-Assistant Boys’ Sports and Paul Bills-Ennis-Assistant Girls’ Sports. Dennis Murphy of Havre was a finalist for Athletic Director of the year.
Award winners, Georgia Forney, Dan Hodge and Jeff Carroll as well as the 7 finalists will be recognized at the MCA Awards Ceremony at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 30th in the Great Falls High School Auditorium during the 48th Annual Montana Coaches Association Multi-Sports Coaching Clinic. At the conclusion of the awards ceremony, a complimentary luncheon will be served. Friends and family are welcome to attend.
2015 MCA Hall of Fame
The Montana Coaches Association is pleased to announce the induction of five members into the MCA Hall of Fame. Their prestigious awards will be presented at the 11:30 Awards Ceremony on Thursday, July 30th in the Great Falls High School Auditorium, in conjunction with the MCA All-Sports Coaches Clinic Family and friends are invited to the Awards Ceremony followed by a complimentary luncheon in the cafeteria. Large pictured plaques will be permanently displayed in the MSU Fieldhouse. Congratulations to these outstanding coaches and fine gentlemen!
Paul Barta – Columbus
Paul has coached 37 years in Montana. Following five years at Medicine Lane and five at Glasgow, Coach Barta settled in Columbus, where he has served the last 27 years. Over the years Barta’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams have won an incredible 757 games, playing in 29 district and 18 divisional championship games while making 27 state appearances.
A 37 year member of the MCA, Barta has been a 9 time nominee for COY and has presented at both the MCA and Wyoming Clinic. He has served as District and Divisional President and managed numerous district and divisional track meets. He has coached the Radisson Senior Classic for 22 years and served as an assistant for the MT-WY All-Star Game.
Dustin Gordon – Fairfield
Serving as a head coach for 24 years, Dustin has been head mentor in boys’ basketball, girls’ tennis and also an assistant in T&F, but it is in the girls’ basketball circles where Coach Gordon is best known. His 120 game winning streak at Fairfield High is a Montana record and ranks 6th longest in the nation. During his tenure, the Fairfield girls posted four amazing, unblemished seasons as well as a “State Best” as they notched four consecutive State Championships. In his 9 years as head of the Lady Eagles, they have played in the Chipper 7 times, winning 6. He also notched a 2nd and 3rd place State finish at Chester.
Coach Gordon is a 6 time MCA COY and a finalist this year for the NHSACA COY in Girls’ Basketball. He has served 9 years as head coach for the Treasure State Classic and 2 years as the B Coach for the Hi-Line Classic. He has been MHSA State Tennis bracketing Coordinator, Divisional Tennis Director, District and Divisional Volleyball Director, and District and Divisional T&F Manager. For 12 years he was a basketball and football MOA
John LaBonty – Glasgow
John has been a head mentor for 28 of his 36 years coaching; the last 34 years at Glasgow. A 36 year MCA member, Coach LaBonty has served in a variety of sports and positions, but it is in track & field and volleyball where he has created a legacy. Under his guidance, athletes have won 20 district championships, 11 divisional championships and 9 state trophies, including 3 third place finishes, 2 runners-up and 4 State Championships (2 in Volleyball, 2 in Girls’ T&F)
LaBonty has been nominated for MCA COY 8 times and named COY twice in volleyball and 3 times in girls track & field. He has served as District and Divisional Track manager numerous years.
Rollie Sullivan – Pablo
Rollie has spent 33 years in the coaching ranks, 28 of those as head boys’ basketball coach and 3 at the helm of girls’ basketball teams. For 5 years he headed up track & field and softball teams. After stints at Outlook, Frenchtown and Circle, Coach Sullivan spent the next 23 years at Sidney. His boys’ basketball teams notched an impressive 389 victories, including 3 State Championships, one 2nd and one 3rd place trophy. His girls’ basketball teams were an impressive 62-16 for a winning percentage of 80%. Altogether, his teams made 12 appearances at the State Tournament. Rollie was nominated for MCA COY 6 times and named COY thee. A 33 year MCA member, he has spoken at several MCA clinics also served many times as district tournament manager.
Bret Thompson – Charlo
A 29 year MCA member and 28 year head coach, Bret has spent all of coaching career at Charlo and they are fortunate that he did. During his Charlo tenure, his teams have won an amazing 51 District and 13 Divisional titles along with 5 State Championship trophies. His 493 wins in girls’ basketball include 13 District, 3 Divisional and one State title. In boys’ T&F, 20 District, 8 Divisional and 4 State trophies are on the walls. His girls’ T& F teams have 18 District and 2 Divisional titles as along with 8 top five finishes.
A 5-time MCA COY and 8 time nominee, Coach Thompson has also spent time coaching the Western C Team at the Treasure State Classic and served as long-time coach of the Mission Valley All-Star Tournament.
We are pleased to announce the addition of the Montana Coaches Association Hall of Fame to our website.
You can visit the sortable list of great coaches here, https://montanacoaches.com/hall-of-fame/
Montana Coaches Association MEDIA RELEASE
Montana Coaches Association is pleased to announce that two outstanding, long-time Montana coaches,
Jeff Carroll – Billings Senior and Dan Hodge – Flathead High
will be inducted into the National High School Athletic Association (NHSACA) HALL OF FAME at their annual convention’s Hall of Fame Banquet , to be held at noon June 19, 2015 at the Kahler Grand Hotel in Minneapolis, MN.
Jeff Carroll has been the head volleyball coach at Billings Senior HS for the past 29 years. During that time, his teams have won 14 conference championships, 12 state championships and 5 runners-up finishes. He has been named Montana “AA” Coach of the Year 12 times, was inducted into the Montana Coaches Hall of Fame in 2009 and was selected as the NHSACA National Volleyball Coach of the Year in 2010. In 2011, Jeff was chosen National Co-Coach of the Year by the American Volleyball Coaches Association and coached the East All-Stars in the Under Armour High School All-American match held in San Antonio that year. He has an overall record of 670–200 including a 32-1 record this past season.
During his tenure as head track & field coach at Flathead High School, Dan’s teams have won 6 state and 17 divisional championships. They have also placed second in state meets 7 times and second in divisional meets 10 times. Dan has been an MCA COY 7 times, a finalist for National Coach of the Year 4 times, recognized as National Coach of the Year for 2012, and was inducted into the Montana Coaches Hall of Fame in 1998. Dan believes the major reason for his teams’ successes is due to his long-serving coaching staff and out-of-season program that he runs from mid-November until the start of the T&F season. Dan was an all-conference performer in both football and T&F at Montana State University and then served in the U.S. Army as a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War before starting his teaching and coaching career. Dan is originally from Butte.