MISSOULA – Jay Anderson has built a powerhouse boys soccer program at Missoula Hellgate High School. And now he gets a nice pat on the back. United Soccer Coaches named Anderson the National Large School Coach of the Year.

Anderson led the Knights to their third straight Class AA state title in October, finishing a thrilling championship match with a 4-2 overtime win over Kalispell Glacier. The last three years have been dominant, but Hellgate has always been a contender in 15 years under Anderson, also winning a state title in 2011.

He doesn’t like to take the credit though, and declined an interview to talk about the award. He wants the attention always focused on his players.

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The sixth grade teacher also serves as the Missoula Strikers girls club team coach in the spring.

The United Soccer Coaches hand out national coach of the year awards to boys and girls coaches in large school, small school and private school categories. Anderson was also named the Central Region Large School Coach of the Year.