HELENA – At Helena High, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
For the first time in 24 years the school had to search for a new head football coach after Tony Arntson left the football program to take an assistant coaching job down the road at Carroll College. But luckily for the Bengals, they didn’t have to look far, tabbing longtime assistant Scott Evans as the new head coach Wednesday afternoon.
“I can tell you I was nervous and at the same point and time what had happened throughout the process is, I had to work for it. I felt good about that,” said Evans. “I wanted the position, so I guess surprised is not the word I’d use, but I thought I was prepared for it and ready to go.”
It would be hard to find a person more prepared and ready to go than Evans. A former all-state athlete for Great Falls and University of Montana Western Hall of Fame linebacker, the new head coach joined the Helena staff in 1993 as an offensive coach. He made the switch to his natural side of the ball in 2001 becoming the defensive coordinator. His latest move requires a few additional skill sets, but Evans is ready for the challenges.
“Managing a little bit more people, just making sure that I’m taking care of another 50-odd players than where I was before,” Evans said of the adjustment. “It’s making sure our players are taken care of and they have a position where, No. 1, they feel comfortable with what I do. It’s managing our people. It’s making sure the experts we have on staff here are ready, and now I’m running the rest of the experts.”
With Evans being such an important part of this team for the past two-plus decades, him being in the driver seat won’t mean too many drastic changes to the program. But a new head coach always means a new approach.
“We kind of talked about this, a couple of the guys and I, coach Arntson and I talked about this,” Evans said. “I’ve got a different vibe and how I am and stuff like that. My personality is probably a little more boisterous and things like that. So the changes aren’t going to be dramatic at all, but we’re going to have some things offensively that we’re going to do a little bit different — some things that I like and have actually given me some problems over the years as D-coordinator here in (Class) AA. We have some great coaches all across the state. Defensively, we’ll probably be exactly the same as we’ve been. We’re going to be aggressive and go from it.”
So for Helena High, which advanced to the State AA championship game last season, things may be changing. But with Evans leading the way, the Bengals hope their dominance on the field stays the same.
Helena High starts the 2018 season at Great Falls CMR on Aug. 25.