LAUREL -- The Laurel School Board on Monday night voted not to renew the contract of first-year boys basketball coach Paul Barta, according to the school.
The longtime Columbus coach was hired last May to replace Pat Hansen, who stepped down after several head coaching seasons at Laurel. The Locomotives reached this year's Class A state tournament and were set to play a Saturday morning game for a shot at the consolation final before the tournament was canceled due to coronavirus concerns. All of Montana's 2020 state basketball tournaments were canceled after Friday's semifinals.
Barta coached the Columbus boys for 29 seasons and led the Cougars to State B runner-up finishes in 1993, 1994, 1999, 2011 and 2014. He coached the Columbus girls to a second-place trophy in 2001.
The 65-year-old is a Montana Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee with 40 years of head coaching experience. Barta is also a 1978 graduate of Rocky Mountain College and a member of the school's athletic hall of fame.
Laurel is actively seeking a replacement for Barta.