BUTTE -- Two weeks after Montana Tech named Kyle Samson its interim head football coach, director of athletics Matt Stepan removed the interim tag.
Samson was officially announced as the Orediggers' coach on Tuesday. He'll succeed Chuck Morrell, who led the football program for nine seasons before taking a job on the staff at NCAA Division I Fresno State. Samson joined the Tech staff last January and served as the team's offensive coordinator.
“After a thorough process that included a national search and a committee interview process, it was clear that Coach Samson is the right choice for this program going forward,” Stepan said in a media release.
“This is a huge win for not only our football team, but also for the campus and Butte communities.”
Under Samson's tutelage, Montana Tech had one of the top rushing offenses in the Frontier Conference last fall. The Orediggers averaged 190.5 yards per game and scored 25 rushing touchdowns despite all-American running back Jed Fike missing much of the season with an injury.
Prior to coming to Tech, Samson was the head coach at Kalispell Flathead High School. Behind a prolific offense, Samson led the Braves to the Class AA state championship game in 2018, their first appearance in the title game since 2000.
Samson is no stranger to the Frontier Conference, though. After an all-state playing career at Helena Capital High School, Samson, a quarterback, was a three-time all-conference selection at Montana State University-Northern, earning the Frontier Conference's offensive player of the year honor in 2006. Samson finished his college career with 5,303 passing yards and 1,591 rushing yards and 45 total touchdowns.
He coached with the Lights from 2007-14, serving as the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. The Lights' offense ranked in the top 10 nationally from 2011-13.
“I am very humbled and honored for this great opportunity,” said Samson. “Being the next head football coach at Montana Tech fulfills a lifelong dream of mine.”
“I want to thank my family, my wife Brooke, our three kids, and my parents for all their love and support. I would like to personally thank Coach Morrell for all he’s done for me and his mentorship this past year," Samson added. "I hope to continue to build on the foundation he’s established. We have tremendous student-athletes here at Montana Tech and I’m so thankful that get to continue to work with them every day. We are very proud to be part of the community of Butte and excited to build upon the great traditions of our football program and this university.”
Tech finished the 2019 season with a 6-4 record, losing the final two games of the regular season. The Orediggers haven't had a losing season since 2014 when they went 1-9. They went 10-2 in both 2015 and 2016, advancing to the NAIA national playoffs each season. The schedule for the 2020 season has yet to be announced.
A press conference, which is open to the public, is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Copper Lounge of the Student Union Building to introduce Samson. The press conference will also be live streamed through the Montana Tech YouTube channel.