FORT SHAW — Fourteen Montana high school coaches and one athletic director have been named finalists for national coach and AD of the year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA).
Eight finalists are selected across the nation in each category, with finalists being honored at the National Coach of the Year awards banquet in Sioux Falls, S.D. on June 27. The NHSACA will honor 19 winners at the event.
Havre High athletic director Dennis Murphy is joined by wrestling coach Scott Filius in representing the Blue Ponies. Filius and Havre have won five consecutive Class A state championships. Murphy, a former girls basketball coach at Havre, has overseen incredible success across all sporting events at Havre High.
Jim Oberweiser, the former coach at Drummond who retired last season, is among the finalists for national football coach of the year. Oberweiser, who roamed the sidelines for nearly 40 years and won five 8-Man titles in seven years, is eligible for the award after announcing his retirement in January of 2017.
Great Falls High’s Bob Howard joins Fairfield’s Dustin Gordon as finalists for the boys and girls basketball honors, respectively. Gordon’s Eagles have won seven Class B state championships and set a Montana record with 120 consecutive wins.
Other Montana finalists include Rob Stanton (Billings West) and Jim Carroll (Conrad) for track and field, Carl Straub (Helena High) for soccer and Helen Houlihan (Missoula Hellgate) for boys and girls swimming and diving.
The complete list of Montana finalists can be found below.
National High School Athletic Coaches Association coach/AD of the year finalists
Dennis Murphy, Havre — Athletic Director
Bob Raeth, Kalispell Flathead — Assistant coach of the year, boys
Paul Bills, Ennis — Assistant coach of the year, girls
Bob Howard, Great Falls High — Boys basketball
Dustin Gordon, Fairfield — Girls basketball
Rod Karst, Glasgow — Girls cross country
Jim Oberweiser, Drummond — Football
Pat Lynch, Manhattan — Golf
Carl Straub, Helena High — Soccer
Heather Epperly, Bigfork — Special sports
Helen Houlihan, Missoula Hellgate — Swimming and diving
Robert Hislop, Polson — Tennis
Rob Stanton, Billings West — Boys track and field
Jim Carroll, Conrad — Girls track and field
Scott Filius, Havre — Wrestling