BIGFORK – He helped build a powerhouse on Flathead Lake. Now, Todd Emslie is stepping down. Bigfork’s head football coach for 16 years has resigned from the program.
Emslie moved to Montana after serving as an assistant at a small college in Wisconsin. He didn’t like the lifestyle as a college coach, but he found a perfect fit at the high school level.
The Vikings have become a perennial contender in Class B. They reached the state semifinals this year, and Emslie led the school to its only state championship in 2010. He feels the success came because he was simply in the right place at the right time.
“It was probably a combination of a couple of things,” said Emslie. “No. 1 is just great kids, great athletes coming from great families here. And then the coaching staff. The guys I’ve coached with are just awesome, awesome human beings. Kids want to be around them. So it was easy.”
Emslie admitted he knew for a while 2018 could be his last season. He coached his son as a senior in 2017, and promised this year’s group of seniors that he would stay around at least one more year.
In total, his Vikings won more than 100 games. But something else will stick with Emslie more than all of the victories.
“I guess I’m proud of the relationships that I’ve had, both with obviously the kids, the great families of Bigfork, and of course the coaches that I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years,” said Emslie.
The 54-year-old suffered a heart attack in December but said that wasn’t the biggest reason he stepped away. He wants to spend more time with family and friends. He will remain a junior high teacher in Bigfork and plans to stay involved with the Vikings program in the future. He believes the program is in great shape to have continued success in the future.