GREAT FALLS — Completing a perfect 12-0 season and capturing the Class A state title earned Lewistown’s Derek Lear the coach of the year award. Lear has brought Lewistown their first football state title in over 20 years, doing so in just his second year as the head of the program.
“I’m happy I’ve earned this award and some other awards throughout the state,” says Lear. “But it comes down to the boys, the group of kids that we have. I can do the best I can do as a coach but ultimately if they don’t make the plays and if they are not the kids that they are, this never happens.”
Lear gave praise to more than just the boys on his team. He feels this entire season was a full effort, including his coaching staff, parents, and the entire community — a community where he wants to be viewed as more than just a football coach.
“I just want to be there for them as a person, not just a football coach,” said Lear, whose team beat Billings Central in the state championship game. “I don’t want it to be, ‘I’m your football coach and we have success on the football field.’ I want them to send me wedding invitations and call me about college.”
Lear has created forever relationships with his players off the field, which has led to their success on the field and came with all the accolades at the end of the season.