LAUREL – For the second time in his coaching career, Pat Hansen will pull double duty next season.
The Laurel Board of Trustees officially approved Hansen, who has been the school’s boys basketball coach for the past 13 seasons, as the new head girls coach at their Monday night meeting. Hansen replaces Amber Griffith, who stepped down in March after 10 years in charge of the girls program.
“I’m in the gym 24/7 already, so when I had the opportunity to take on the girls job, I jumped at it,” said Hansen. “When you coach long enough, you’re always looking for that extra spark to pick you up, and that’s what I’m hoping this new challenge will give me.”
Hansen has 18 years of head coaching experience in Montana. He was at Gardiner High School for four years prior to Laurel, and started his career with one year at Bridger High School, where he coached both varsity programs, as well.
Laurel activities director Roger Heimbigner said there were eight applicants for the position, and the school held six interviews. Hansen was the committee’s consensus choice.
“Pat is a certified teacher in the system who has had great success in the boys basketball program in the past,” Heimbigner wrote in his recommendation to the Board. “He has the ambition, the passion, the organizational skills, and the ability to be successful in both the boys and girls program going forward.”
Hansen has won two State A title with Laurel’s boys (2010, 2015) and won a State C boys title with Gardiner in 2005.
The biggest question mark with Hansen’s candidacy was in scheduling – Class A boys and girls teams usually play opposite home-and-road schedules – but Heimbigner was able to stack varsity games behind each other in the upcoming season to avoid any traveling conflicts.