GREAT FALLS — The Great Falls Central Catholic Mustangs are moving from 8-man to 6-man football next season, but that’s not the only change as Conrad Duffy will take the reins of the program as the new head coach where he will be rejoining the team’s coaching staff after a stint as an assistant in 2011-2016.
“Being here with Coach [Mike] Nelson and Greg Horton from 2011 to 2016 I’m pretty familiar with the school and the program and the people that are involved with Great Falls Central,” Duffy said.
“When the position came open, we did think of him,” GFCC athletic director Jamie Smith-Stevens said. “He’s a very good coach; he’s coached for a long time.”
With ample head coaching experience in Cascade and Gillette, Wyoming, and assistant coaching experience at GFCC and Great Falls High, Duffy’s first order of business is to do some recruiting by billing 6-man football as “basketball on grass” to entice some of the school’s other athletes to join the roster. Last season, the team struggled with participation numbers that ultimately led to an unfinished season.
“I think if we can get some our basketball kids out and some of the kids running track in the spring involved in our football program it’s going to pay dividends for us,” Duffy mentioned.
Duffy returns to coaching after spending the last few years focusing on his winter job refereeing Division I wrestling in the Big Ten conference. This next year, he found a way to give his full attention to both coaching and refereeing, allowing him to coach the Mustangs full-time in the fall.
“You know my assigners are going to allow us to start a little later this year. It’ll make it a little easier for me to be involved like I need to be for this program without feeling like I’m getting pulled two different directions,” he said.
The first taste of summer football will be at Montana Tech for a 6-man football camp June 10-12 where the team will get their feet wet for their upcoming season.
“It’s going to be fast and furious like 6-man is anyways but hopefully we can get all those kids out here and involved in Central Catholic football and it should be fun.”
Duffy was a former Great Falls High three-sports standout and continued his college career at Dickinson State and Missouri Valley University. Duffy’s coaching journey has also included stints in coaching baseball at the junior college and Legion level. He is also one of the state’s highest regarded wrestling officials.