BUTTE — Kyle Samson was officially introduced as Montana Tech's next football coach last January, becoming just the third person to lead the Orediggers over the past 33 years.
More than a year later, he's still patiently waiting to coach his first college game.
"There's a lot of worse stuff going on in the world with this pandemic," Samson said. "We're just fortunate that we get to come to work every day and our kids are in school."
If everything goes according to plan, and a COVID-19 outbreak doesn't derail things, Samson will make his debut in March as the Frontier Conference sets its sites on a condensed spring season that was originally supposed to begin in February. Teams are slated to play four or five games,
With Montana and Montana State already bowing out of the Big Sky Conference's spring season -- though the Grizzlies and Bobcats are still leaving the door open for one or two non-conference games -- it's anyone's guess whether Frontier schools will ultimately kick off this spring. But teams are still determined to be ready to go if the stars align.
"We're going to do everything we can to be prepared and ready to go," Samson said. "I think at this point we know it's just one day at a time. We're really not looking two months down the road; we're looking at we can do to get better today."
Down in Dillon, Montana Western head football coach Ryan Nourse said that his team has been training inside and is set to begin outdoor practices on the first day of March, weather permitting.
"Our plan is on March 1 to get outside and see what we can do in terms of practice," Nourse said. "We're going to play it a little by ear and we'll go outside. We'll make due with what we can as long as the preparation will be effective.
"We were really fortunate in the fall to get all the opportunities that we did. We got way more than what a camp would be. It'll be fun to get back to game planning and preparing to play on a Saturday and not just practice."
Whether players take the field in March or teams instead begin eyeing a fall return, there's little doubt that the Treasure State is eager for college football to kick off again.
"I know that my own kids, especially my oldest son Troy, he's really excited about that," Samson said. "For the first time in a long time he'll be a able to stand on the sideline with his dad as well. And I'm excited about that. But I know our kids are really looking forward to that as well. I mean, just the opportunity to get back out there and play the game they love."
Tech is set to open its season on March 20 at MSU-Northern while Western heads to Eastern Oregon. The Orediggers and Bulldogs are then set to clash on March 27 in Butte.