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.
Jeff Strickland, Three Forks Golf Coach, was selected as the 2016 National Golf Coach of the Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) on Wednesday, June 22nd at their National Convention in Louisville, KY. Jeff was Montana’s Golf finalist for 2015 and joined 13 other finalists in various sports. (Jeff’s bio attached above)
Mark Yoakam, Corvallis Girls’ Assistant Coach, was selected as the 2016 National Girls’ Assistant Coach by the NHSACA. He was Montana’s “Girls’ Assistant” nominee and finalist. (Mark’s bio attached)
Finalists for Coach of the Year were:
Rodney Tweet-Geraldine, FB;
Tara Taylor-Fergus, VB;
Clint May-Bozeman, BCC;
Joanne Cleveland-Corvallis, GCC;
Terry Thomas-Beaverhead, BBB;
Karen Deden-Sentinel, GBB;
Steve Komac-Great Falls, WR;
Spencer Huls-Corvallis, GT&F;
Jeff Strickland-Three Forks, GO;
Erika Cannon-Bozeman, SO;
Ed Kriskovich-Billings West, SB;
Julie Shepherd-Choteau, Special Sports
Finalists for Assistant Coach of the Year were: Jim Epperly-Bigfork, Boys’ Assistant and Mark Yoakam-Corvallis, Girls’ Assistant.
NHSACA HALL OF FAME:
Charlie Merrifield, from Butte, was Montana’s inducee into the NHSACA Hall of Fame on Tuesday, in Louisville, KY.
Award winners, Charlie Merrifield, Jeff Strickland and Mark Yoakam, as well as the 12 finalists were recognized at the MCA Awards Ceremony on Thursday, August 3rd, in the Great Falls High School Auditorium during the 49th Annual Montana Coaches Association Multi-Sports Coaching Clinic.
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.