GREAT FALLS – The Montana Coaches Association will induct six members into the MCA Hall of Fame. Larry Lucero, Pat Lynch, Bob Owen, Linda Paull, Daniel Weber, and Craig Finberg will be inducted on August 2nd at CMR High Auditorium in Great Falls.
Larry Lucero coached basketball in Montana for 41 years, 39 of those in Great Falls. Lucero’s teams won three state titles; two by the Great Falls high boys and one from the CMR girls. His Bison boys teams also finished runner-up once and had two fourth place finishes. Lucero is a 3-time Montana Coaches Association Coach of the Year, and in 1968 he organized the first boys’ basketball camp in Great Falls.
Pat Lynch, the current AD of Manhattan High School, has had a tremendous career as a coach in basketball, track and field, and golf. He has won 10 district championships, 11 divisional championships, and seven state trophies over his 43 years. Lynch was named Class B “AD of the Year” in 2012, and was named All Class “Ad of the Year” in 2015. Lynch has been named the Montana Coaches Association Coach of the Year in golf and has been nominated for that honor six times.
Bob Owen spent one year at Billings Central, but has spent the last 43 as the head wrestling coach at Polson high school. Coach Owen is Montana’s state leader in wrestling wins, with over 400 career wins on the mat. Under Owen’s watch at Polson, the Pirates have won 17 divisional trophies, including eight championships, and eight state trophies, two of which were titles. Owen is a 2-time Montana Coaches Association Coach of the Year. He also spent seven years as coach of the Montana High School USAW National Team.
Linda Paull has coached gymnastics, and track and field and cross country in the Helena area for 38 years. Her gymnastics teams won one state championship, while also finishing as a runner-up twice. As head track coach, she won a state title with the Helena High Lady Bengals. Paull was a Montana Coaches Association Coach of the Year, as well as a 4-time nominee.
Daniel Weber has spent 38 years at Missoula Loyola High School, 27 as the head coach in various sports. Weber led the Heart Breakers softball team to an incredible 15 state tournament appearances over 16 years, finishing runner-up four times and grabbing one state championship. As a football coach, Weber led the Rams to two state championships in seven yeras. Weber was a 2-time Montana Coaches Association Coach of the Year, a 3-time Class B All Star coach, and coached the Shrine Football Game.
Craig Finberg of Columbia Falls is a legend in the Montana basketball world. ‘Finny’ went on to become one of the top shooting guards in Montana State history. He was the head boys basketball coach in Dillon for 19 years, and he also served as an assistant on the Beavers’ football staff for 17 years. During his 19-year tenure, Finberg’s teams made 12 state appearances, bringing home two state titles and six state trophies. Finberg was a two-time Montana Coaches Association Coach of the Year. Finberg also spent time on the University of Montana Western’s staff, assisting Casey Keltz and later Steve Keller. ‘Finny’ lost his battle with cancer in 2009.