BOZEMAN — Gallatin High School’s new boys head basketball coach, Mike Claxton, is excited to be able to coach his team right now.
“I think we’re very fortunate in the first place in the state of Montana to even be able to practice with our kids if you see what’s going on across the nation,” he said.
Growing up in Chester and coaching in Europe the past few years, Claxton was ready to start up a new program and settle his family in the state he grew up in.
“I thought an opportunity at a brand-new high school like this in the state of Montana would be an ideal fit for my family,” said Claxton.
At a new high school, the lumps will come. Gallatin High will only have juniors and below during its first year. But the players have shown their coach a lot of commitment.
“These kids are putting in a lot of work and in the next few years it’s going to pay off,” Claxton said.
Another hurdle is COVID-19. Wes Holmquist, who coaches the girls, and Claxton decided to cancel their summer camps.
“It just didn’t make sense," said Claxton. "We want to be responsible in the community and send the right message that we’re trying to do our part to end this pandemic so that out kids can get back into school.”
When you’re trying to implement your coaching style from juniors on down, that can have a negative impact, but Claxton knows it will take a few years to build his program.
“That was definitely a huge loss for us, but we’re going to ramp it back up next year and hopefully this pandemic will be behind us and we can get back to some normalcy in our everyday lives,” he said.