(Editor’s note: Montana Western press release)
CASPER, Wyoming – The University of Montana Western Head Rodeo Coach Iola “Olie” Else was named the 2018 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Coach of the Year at the 70th College National Finals Rodeo.
“I am honored and proud to be selected the NIRA Coach of the Year,” Else said. “Being named coach of the year is a wonderful way of ending a 30-year career.”
In 2004 Else became the first woman to ever be named NIRA Coach of the Year. Now she’s done what no other woman has ever done, win the award twice, as she was just named NIRA Coach of the Year for the second time.
“This is such a deserved honor for Olie and Montana Western rodeo,” said Director of Athletics Bill Wilson. “She has meant so much to so many student-athletes.”
Else was born in Salmon, Idaho and grew up in Tendoy where her parents ran the Tendoy Store. She attended school there through sixth grade and then went to Leadore for junior high and high school. Else has attended every Montana Western Rodeo Banquet since the inaugural banquet held in 1968 when she was a visiting recruit looking at what was then called Western Montana College. Else graduated from Leadore High School in 1969 and went to WMC that fall. She competed in barrel racing, breakaway, team roping, and goat tying.
She was Homecoming Queen in 1971, runner up for Miss Western in 1971, and Miss Rodeo Idaho in 1973, going on to compete for Miss Rodeo America. Else has been the faculty advisor for Montana Western Rodeo and took over as head coach in 1994.
This is the last year Else will be coaching as she is retiring after the CNFR. This year’s team had seven qualifiers at the CNFR.image
“I will truly miss all of the coaches, NIRA staff, my students-athletes, and all the folks I have met on the rodeo trail. It has been a great run and I am grateful for the journey,” Else said.
The mayor of Casper has also proclaimed Wednesday June 13, 2018 as Iola “Olie” Else Day in her honor.