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MTN Sports 1-on-1: New Helena High head football coach Dane Broadhead sits down with MTN's Sam Hoyle

Dane Broadhead
Posted at 7:00 PM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 21:34:12-05

HELENA — On Tuesday, Helena Public Schools named Dane Broadhead the new Helena High head football coach. Broadhead, a member of the Carroll College Fighting Saints' football team from 2008 to 2011, has served on the Helena High football staff for the last eight years under long-time coach Tony Arntson and more recently Scott Evans.

On Tuesday, MTN Sports caught up with Broadhead to sit down and discuss what lead him to this point and his plans for the future as the Bengals' new head coach.

Sam Hoyle, MTN Sports

I know we talked about it a little bit before we, you know, before we started, but you've been here in Helena for over a decade at this point. What kind of drew you to the Helena area dating back to your college days at Carroll College?

Dane Broadhead, Helena High head football coach

Sure. Yeah, I didn't know much about Helena, very little about Carroll until they started recruiting me in high school. Coach Howlett was my recruiter throughout the recruiting process. Came up on a couple visits, fell in love with the campus love the community, the mountains, you know? I like to – I don't get much spare time, but I like to hunt and fish in my spare time, so I was really drawn to that and then obviously the school. The academic side of it, the football side of it, you know, that was that kind of sealed the deal for me. Yeah, I went to Carroll for five years. Played for four, coached for one, and then couldn't get enough of it. Came back and been at Helena high for eight years since.

MTN Sports  

So I guess what kind of kept you here in Helena? Was it, you know, the atmosphere surrounding it? Was it the ability to know that to know around the place? What kind of kept you here?

Dane Broadhead

I mean, just the community overall, you know, it's a great place. I have two young kids, I have four-year-old twin boys, it's a great place to raise your kids, and then you know, Helena High has kind of become a second home for me, you know? I love – our staff is great in terms of the football side of it, and also the people I get to work with on a daily basis as a teacher here, it's a, it's a great place to work, great place to coach and somewhere I'm very happy to be, hopefully for a long time.

MTN Sports  

So you've been at Helena High for eight years, you've been an assistant and you've coached I'm assuming various, various different groups and most recently it was offensive line. Is that kind of your, your natural predilection in the sport is?

Dane Broadhead  

Not really. I was the guy that had my hands under center growing up, you know? That's all I knew, was quarterback. And I've been very fortunate when I got here, coach Arntson moved me to [Defenisive backs]. So I got to see, you know, a different side of it, got to work with the defense and see the game from a different perspective, which was huge for me. And then under Coach Evans, I was, you know, helped with wide receivers for a year, I helped with the quarterbacks for a year, and then the [offensive] line the last two years. So it's been great for me to kind of evolve as a coach and see, you know, the game through a different perspective, in terms of, coaching different positions, and it's helped me become more well-rounded overall.

MTN Sports  

That was actually going to be my next question, obviously, you know, having your hands in so many different, you know, in so many different groups, how do you think that kind of is prepared you to take on this new task?

Dane Broadhead  

It's been, it's been great, you know, it's been challenging for me to learn new positions, but at the same time, I didn't get stuck in just one spot, you know? I was able to, to work with different groups and work with different members of our staff, you know, in different capacities, whether that was, you know, the O-line the last two years, or calling a JV offense, you know, in terms of play-calling, and so it's, it's been something that's been great for me to, you know, to get a different perspective and a different sense of kind of how the game is played, you know, within different position groups, and what that looks like. In terms of, you know, game planning, and, and really what, you know, each position group brings to the table in terms of, you know, working with different groups of kids and different units, it's been great a great experience for me.

MTN Sports  

So looking at – you know, I feel like we've kind of jumped a little bit ahead, but, you know, you

find out the head coaching position is coming open and Evans is resigning from his post here that he, he had for the last four years, but he'd been with the program for almost 30 years if I'm not mistaken. You know, you see the job come up, what was kind of the first thought, you know, that went through your mind? Was it immediately like, ‘oh, I want to go after this?’ Kind of take me through, you know, the, the first couple of stages of this?

Dane Broadhead  

Absolutely. No, it was. First thing, you know, I want to congratulate Coach Evans, like you said, he was here for 25+ years, working under Coach Arntson, and then the last four as a head coach. So you, you want to take some time to reflect and, and thank him for all the work that he's done. And then the next step, you know, is kind of figuring out who amongst the staff was going to apply? And we kind of sat down as a staff and talked it out and, and I was the guy that everyone was kind of behind, and then just after that, it was just a matter of going through the application process and the hiring process. Which, you know, to have that support for my staff was huge. That was, that was awesome for me to know that those guys, you know, had my back and we're going to follow me, you know, wherever we could take this thing.

MTN Sports  

Now, there was 19 applicants and you made it to the final four, and then you get that call saying, ‘Hey, we'd like to, we'd like to have you for this job,” what was that like? Can you kind of take me through that?

Dane Broadhead  

Well, that was a special moment. You know, I got the call [Tuesday] morning from Mr. McMahon, our athletic director, and it's one of those things you know, you work hard preparing for it and you know that it's a possibility but until you get that call, it doesn't quite sink in. And then that lasts about five minutes and then you're on to the next thing, you know? You're starting to get things together and we’d kind of been prepping, you know, our – we've continued with our weight room program and our offseason strength and conditioning stuff, you know that ball is kind of rolling already, but then you really start to think about next steps in terms of putting your spring together and your summer and then ultimately, you know, end up in middle August, once we hit two days,

MTN Sports

What excites you most about your future of this?

Dane Broadhead  

Our kids, our kids, you know, that's, that's why you get into high school coaching and coaching, in general, is to work with young people, and we have a great group of kids coming up. We lost a lot, we have a lot of positions to fill, a lot of big shoes to fill. But I'm excited for that opportunity for our guys to see, who comes – that comes to work every day and competes and to get into spring ball and into our summer stuff and to see who rises up and wins some of those jobs.

MTN Sports  

Looking at the prospect of that, obviously, this is your first time as a head coach, correct?

Dane Broadhead  

I mean, I coached baseball, I coached sub-varsity baseball in Idaho for a year. And then I was with the American Legion program the Helena [Representatives] for a couple years. Coached under Coach Burnett, but yeah, this will be my first Head Football job.

MTN Sports  

So looking at that, so you already have a bit of experience, you know, trying to effectively manage a team. But now that team is much larger? Looking at that, I mean, how equipped do you feel to handle this? And obviously, I'm assuming you're not gonna be doing it on your own?

Dane Broadhead  

Sure. No, it’s a, it's a great challenge. I think the number one thing you have to do as a head coach is you have to communicate, you know, you have – like you said, you have a lot of moving parts. You have a lot of kids that are involved, a lot of members of your team. But again, I'm fortunate to have a staff that's been together for a lot of years. We have, you know, guys that have been around 10, 20+ years. So there's a lot of continuity there, that makes my job very easy. You know, schematically, we're going to – it's going to be a great adjustment for us, you know, a lot of our systems already in place, you know, coming from Coach Evans, into the new regime. So that's, you know, I'm not going to have to worry a lot about that, you know? I have great assistants under me that are going to handle a lot of that. And then I can, you know, kind of as we progress through it, worry about the organizational piece of it and make sure we just keep the ball rolling.

MTN Sports  

And you kind of touched on it a little bit, but I do kind of want to backtrack a little bit. Obviously, you've been under two different head coaches in Arntson and Evans. And now it's your tenure here. I guess my question is, what will you be pulling from both of those head coaches or is it going to be a completely new brand of Bengal football?

Dane Broadhead  

I mean, it'll, it'll have a little different spin to it. Maybe, you know, it's gonna have a little different feel. And every head coach is going to have that, you know, every guy that takes over a program is going to kind of put their stamp on it. But honestly, 90% of what we do is very, very good. You know, coming from Coach Arntson into Coach Evans, you know, their ability to work with kids, and like I said, to communicate effectively, you know, and watching them interact on a day to day basis with our guys, you know, that's the thing that I'm going to continue. It's about our kids first. And it's about, you know, putting their progression not only as football players, but more importantly, as people at the forefront. That's really what we're gonna focus on going forward.

MTN Sports  

Final question – I say final question, but normally, it doesn't wind up being the final question, because I normally have a follow up from the answer. But what's the first order of business for you as head coach of Helena High?

Dane Broadhead

The first thing I did, I got a hold of our staff. And that was very important to me to get it out to those guys before it hit the Twitterverse and all this and then at lunch today, I met with our kids, you know, that was the next thing for me was to get in front of them. You know, there's a lot of questions from them, obviously, with the transition and things like that. And it's one of those things, you just have to approach, you know, and take it day by day, you know? There's a lot of things still in terms of our spring ball schedule, and what that's gonna look like and you know, you start looking at equipment and things that need to be done. But number one, it's just making sure that our kids know that they're being taken care of, you know, kind of knowing that the expectation and the standard that's going to be in place going forward in the weight room and in the classroom. That's, that's very important for our guys to know, and then we'll just, you know, take it day by day and keep building and get a little bit better every day. And that's what we're going to be about.

MTN Sports  

Okay, that definitely was a lie because I do have a follow-up question. What were some of the questions that the kids had when you met with them?

Dane Broadhead  

You get everything. You know, they want to know about you know, what summer camp is going to look like? Are we gonna go to summer camp? Are we gonna go to team camp? Are we going to get new uniforms? Are we going to – you know, everything from that, to what are we going to wear, helmets gonna look like? And, and some of that's in place, and some of that's, you know, kind of, you know, something that we're still working on, but you get a lot of questions like that and you know, and how things are going to be different. Like I said, a lot of the things, we're going to do or are going to be consistent with things that we've done in the past; there might just be a little different spin on things moving forward.

MTN Sports

In my brain I was like, yeah, in recent history in Helena with new head coaches, new helmets normally come with that, but that's simply just Troy Purcell with the white lids over at Carroll Is that something that you guys are planning for?

Dane Broadhead

You know, right now it's a little late in the game to make any wholesale changes, you know, especially with the way you know, products are being manufactured and things are getting out there with the supply chain issues and things like it's kind of hard, honestly, right now to make any big changes, but there's a few things we're going to look at that might look a little different next ball for sure.

MTN Sports  

Not sure. I guess my last question is, is what quite what mark do you want to leave on this program? It seems like you've already left one but that was as an assistant coach, what mark do you want to leave as a head coach?

Dane Broadhead

Yeah, I mean, again, it revolves back to our kids. You know, my number one team rule is: be a good person. And ultimately, that's why, you know, that's why we're doing is we're helping our kids, you know, grow as young people, not just athletes, and not just football players, you know? It's great to, to score a bunch of points and win games on Friday night. But ultimately for me, it's, the most important thing is to help our kids develop. Help them become better people, become the best versions of themselves that they can become, and ultimately help them come up with a plan for what they're going to do after high school, you know? Their high school experience and high school football is a big part of that, but it's just part of their life going forward. So how can we help them become the best version that they can become and then what, you know, what do they want to look to in the future after they graduate and leave us?