(Editor's note: MSU Billings media release)
BILLINGS – After nine years as athletic director and 25 years overall at Montana State University Billings, Krista Montague announced her resignation on Tuesday upon the completion of the 2021 spring semester.
“While stepping away from my role as athletic director is the most difficult decision I have ever had to make, it is the right time to do so both for myself and for my family,” said Montague. “I am proud of everything our student-athletes and coaches have achieved during my time at MSUB, and I look forward to finishing this 2021 spring semester strong. I am eternally thankful for my time at MSUB – from competing as a student-athlete on our women’s basketball team 25 years ago to leading the department over the last nine years. The Yellowjacket family will always be close to my heart, and MSUB will forever be my home.”
Montague, who was named interim athletic director on September 11, 2012 and permanent athletic director on May 10, 2013, will serve in her current position through June 30, 2021. The university will announce plans for the search for the next director of intercollegiate athletics in the coming weeks.
“Krista’s resignation is a tremendous loss for MSUB, but we support her in her future endeavors,” said MSUB Chancellor Stefani Hicswa. “I have only known Krista for a short time, but she is one of the best athletic directors I have worked with. MSUB has been lucky to have her, and she will be greatly missed.”
Under Montague’s guidance over the last decade, the Yellowjacket athletic department has experienced notable success competitively, academically, and developmentally.
History was made on the hardwood in 2017-18, as Montague watched a women’s basketball team she was once part of match her status with an NCAA D2 Elite Eight appearance. It was the first NCAA west region championship for the program since Montague’s senior season in 1998-99, as the Yellowjackets won both the GNAC Championships tournament and the regional event.
During Montague’s tenure, MSUB has claimed eight Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship titles, including five in baseball, two in women’s basketball, and one in softball. MSUB has made five NCAA regional team appearances with three in women’s basketball and one each in baseball and softball, and 10 individual regional and national appearances in men’s golf and men’s and women’s track and field.
Montague led the efforts to secure hosting rights for numerous GNAC and NCAA D2 championship events throughout her tenure as well. MSUB hosted GNAC championships in softball, baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, and cross country, as well as three NCAA D2 West Region Cross Country Championship events. Montague also led the Desert Stinger softball tournament, the nation’s largest single-site Division II softball event, for the 10th consecutive year in the spring of 2020.
Montague oversaw the completion of a seven-year partnership renewal with Avitus Group Stadium, securing the naming rights of MSUB’s softball field through 2024. The Yellowjacket Athletics Scholarship Dinner Auction was a success under Montague’s leadership, averaging revenue of more than $60,000 annually towards scholarships for student-athletes. Montague was also successful in negotiating a strength and conditioning program for all student-athletes through a partnership with Granite Health and Fitness, and worked with recreation activities to expand and improve the weight room and fitness center at MSUB. Yellowjacket athletic teams averaged more than 1,500 hours of community engagement per year throughout Montague’s tenure as athletic director.
MSUB won back-to-back GNAC academic all-sports women’s titles in 2012-13 and 2013-14, highlighting the department’s academic success under Montague. Overall MSUB won 16 team GNAC academic all-sports titles including six in women’s golf, four in baseball, two in women’s soccer, one in women’s basketball, one in women’s cross country, one in softball, and one in women’s track and field.
Montague began her employment with MSUB in July of 2002 as the department’s development and marketing director. Shortly after being hired, she was appointed to the position of Senior Woman Administrator, making her the highest-ranking female administrator in the athletic department. In 2005, the titles of assistant AD and NCAA compliance coordinator were added to her duties, while she still managed the corporate partnership program and special events for the department. In 2009, Montague was promoted to associate AD. As associate AD, her primary responsibilities included overseeing and managing NCAA DII compliance for each of the sports and co-ed cheer, as well as serving as a crucial member of the athletics senior administration team and academic liaison between the different campus constituencies and athletics.
When Montana State University Billings announced the hiring of Montague as its new athletic director on May 10, 2013, it became the first NCAA institution in Montana to have a female athletic director.
Montague, a native of Hysham, received her undergraduate degree in business administration with an option in marketing in 1999 from MSU Billings. Montague went on to complete a master's degree in public relations at MSU Billings. Montague was a four-year letterwinner for the MSUB women’s basketball team and left the program with the school record for career free-throw percentage. Her teams won the Pacific West Conference championship three out of four years and she participated in the NCAA DII west region women’s basketball tournament all four years. As a senior, Montague helped MSU Billings to the West Region Championship and the program's first Elite Eight appearance in women’s basketball.
Montague is a member of NACDA (National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics) and Women Leaders in College Sports as well as various other state and local organizations. She served a four-year term on the NCAA women’s basketball national committee, and was the chair of the NCAA D2 west region women’s basketball committee through 2020.
She served as a mentor for the NCAA Athletic Directors Association Mentor Program in 2016-17. In 2011-12, she served on WLCS’s Legislation & Governance Committee, and also served as a member of the NCAA DII Softball West Regional Advisory Committee from 2008-2011. Additionally, she served on the NCAA Division II Volleyball West Regional Advisory Committee in 2015. Montague is a member of the Billings Downtown Exchange Club.
Before joining the MSU Billings athletics staff full time, Montague was the athletic department’s part-time corporate partnership director and held various positions for DD Marketing (Pueblo, Colo.), Norwest Bank, and Billings Clinic. She lives in Billings with her husband Brent and two daughters Shayla – a sophomore on the Yellowjacket women’s basketball team – and Allie.