CHURCHILL -- Jeff Bellach is stepping down as the head coach of the Manhattan Christian boys basketball team after he was hired to become the school's next athletic director, MTN Sports confirmed.
Bellach, who led the boys team to six consecutive state tournament appearances, will remain as the girls basketball head coach, as was first reported by the Belgrade News. But becoming an athletic director was something Bellach has always had his sights on.
"Being (athletic director) is something I've always been gunning for since I was at Three Forks. It's something I've always wanted to have the opportunity to do someday if it came up in the right spot," said Bellach.
After Liz Flikemma announced her retirement after serving with the school for 38 years, that opportunity arose. But Bellach knew coaching two basketball teams along with all the additional duties was too much weight to bare, so he found a happy medium.
"I love to coach and there's no way I wanted to give up coaching, period. I'm not ready for that yet -- someday maybe, but I still love it. I love being at practice with the kids and being on the sidelines and being part of the games that way. It just wasn't feasible or fair to anybody to do all three," said Bellach.
Bellach, who takes over as athletic director at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, will still get to coach his daughter, Ava, a rising sophomore for the girls team. But becoming an athletic director was something that was sparked in him during his time with his mentor.
"When I started coaching down in Three Forks, Mike Sauvageau was the AD," Bellach said. "I coached under him and I really tried to start right then and there learning the ropes as much as I could with what he did as athletic director because he also did it while he was coaching."
And he believes he couldn't have picked two better mentors that offered him a wealth of knowledge throughout his athletics career.
"(Flikkema) could tell that (athletic director) was something that interested me and she gave me a lot of freedom to help her and she shared a lot of things with me about her AD position that she didn't have to. She's just been great," Bellach said. "To be able to learn from (Flikkema and Sauvageau) who have had the success they've had as successful coaches and programs, that's something that I just want to carry on."
Bellach still remains as a co-head coach of the Manhattan Christian boys and girls golf team but said he will re-evaluate the possibility of holding those coaching positions, as well, as he begins to settle into the new role.