BOZEMAN — Coaching one team to a high school basketball state tournament is tough, but coaching both the boys and girls varsity basketball teams, that's rare territory.
“It’s going to be special week," said Manhattan Christian head coach Jeff Bellach. "I kind of had my sights on it."
A Montana Tech Hall of Fame basketball player, Bellach is only the third coach in recent memory to take both boys and girls varsity teams to a state tournament. Last year, he won the Class C state tournament with the boys and this year he has the girls in the state tournament for the first time in over a decade in only his second year as head coach.
"The boys have had a great run," Bellach said. "They just continue what they need to do to continue to be a great team and the girls have come so far from when I’ve started with them last year."
After graduating from Montana Tech, Bellach took a few years off of basketball before he got into coaching. He knew that he couldn't be without the game of basketball.
“I’m very passionate about it," said Bellach. "It consumes me at times. The thought of coaching and things that go into it and involve it and seeing how the kids can grow as a part of it.”
Bellach not only coaches basketball, but he also coaches golf at Manahttan Christian. Madelyn Liudahl, a senior guard who has played for both teams under Bellach gave insight as to what makes him such a successful head coach.
“He’s just a rock in our lives," said Liudahl. "He’s something that’s constant and always just pushing us to be better and to be the person that we’re trying to be. He really just makes us great players"
It's not only being a part of the lives of his players on and off the court, his coaching style makes players feel comfortable when they are out on the floor.
“His demeanor definitely relaxes us throughout the game," said junior Devan Walhof.
Manhattan Christian will be put to the test as both teams begin their state tournament play on Wednesday,