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Missoula Hellgate hires Ryne Nelson as head football coach, Maddie Keast as girls basketball coach

Frenchtown's Ryne Nelson.jpg
Posted at 4:47 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 18:58:37-04

MISSOULA — After an unceremonious end in Frenchtown, Ryne Nelson has found a new home at Missoula Hellgate High School.

Nelson has been hired as the new head football coach of the Knights program, Hellgate athletic director Nick Laatsch announced on Monday. Nelson replaces Mick Morris who resigned from the position in late April after six seasons leading Hellgate, including bringing the program back to the varsity level. Morris left the post for a new job at Helena Capital High School.

Laatsch also announced that Maddie Keast has been hired as the new head girls basketball coach at Hellgate. Keast replaces Rob and Brady Henthorn, who resigned from the positions as co-head coaches back in March after seven seasons of leading the program.

Nelson, who was hired by Hellgate as an assistant football coach earlier this year, now gets a crack at coaching in the Class AA ranks after a five-year run as the head coach at Class A Frenchtown. Nelson led the Broncs to a 32-13 record overall in five seasons as head coach, and Frenchtown made the playoffs every year, including three trips to the quarterfinal round.

However, Nelson and the entire football staff was controversially let go in January after the Frenchtown school board voted not to rehire them despite support from Frenchtown High School's administration.

Hellgate's football team is coming off of a 2-6 season.

Keast takes over a Hellgate basketball program that is coming off of back-to-back State AA title game appearances under the Henthorns. Keast previously spent last year as the head girls basketball coach at Missoula Loyola Sacred Heart. The Knights went 22-2 overall in 2021-22.