HELENA -- The Helena High girls basketball program has its new mentor. Activities director Tim McMahon and Helena High principal Steve Thennis announced Tuesday morning that Ben Dudek will replace Eric Peterson as head coach of the Bengals, after Peterson stepped down this spring.
The hire is pending board approval.
"Helena High Principal Steve Thennis and Helena Schools Activities Director Tim McMahon are pleased to announce the hiring of Ben Dudek as the new Helena High girls basketball head coach. Coach Dudek takes over for Eric Peterson, who recently resigned the position," Tuesday's press release stated.
"Coach Dudek has previously coached for six years in Pennsylvania as a varsity girls assistant coach at the high school level, and at the high school-aged AAU club level, including coaching several showcase AAU teams made up of college-bound women's basketball players," the release continued. "Coach Dudek moved to Helena and began teaching at CR Anderson Middle School. He has worked as a private basketball trainer and in the middle school basketball programs while waiting the opportunity to resume coaching at the high school level here in Helena. Coach Dudek comes highly recommended and the Helena Public Schools are excited to welcome him as he takes on the program at Helena High. Coach Dudek will continue to teach at C.R. Anderson Middle School."
Dudek taught sixth-grade science at C.R. Anderson Middle School, and according to his biography page on the school's website, grew up in Rochester, New York, attending Clarkson University and Messiah College where he completed an undergraduate degree in sports management.
"Upon graduating in 2009, I began a career directing and coaching basketball in Harrisburg, Penn. until 2015," Dudek's bio continued. "My wife and I moved to Helena in 2015 and immediately fell in love with the community. Following our move, I began and completed a Masters in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University."
Dudek takes over a program that won three consecutive Class AA state championships from 2017-19, where Peterson guided the Bengals to a 97-55 record. Peterson, a Havre High and Carroll College graduate, was named head coach of the program in 2013 and was named a finalist for the 2020 National High School Athletic Coaches Association national girls basketball coach of the year honor.