BOZEMAN — One of volleyball’s royalty is calling it a career.
Wayne Moorman, who has been the head volleyball coach at Bridger High School for more than 30 years, has decided to retire at the conclusion of this weekend’s Class C state volleyball tournament at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse on the campus of Montana State University.
Moorman has guided Bridger to 10 Class C state championships during his tenure and has won more than 700 matches with the Scouts.
“It’s been enjoyable, is probably the best word I can think of, is that it’s been enjoyable,” Moorman said on Thursday. “The kids mostly, for the most part — there’s some that might disagree — but they have treated me like I have been a king, which I’m not, but they’ve treated me that way, and I’ve appreciated it. And that’s one reason I probably would come back or do that, is the way I was treated. I was treated well by the people there in Bridger, by the school, the faculty and then the kids that I have. They make it pleasant, enjoyable. It doesn’t seem like a job. It’s just kind of a fun thing to do, and I’ve enjoyed that.”
Moorman took over the Bridger volleyball program in 1985, albeit reluctantly, according to him. A former Roundup football coach, Moorman claims he was just helping out in the mid-80s before he was convinced to assume the head coaching position. He’s since led one of the most dominant programs in the state, guiding the Scouts to their first state championship in 1990.
They repeated in 1991 before an incredible stretch to close out the decade. Bridger won five consecutive titles from 1995-99. Moorman led the team to three more titles in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Assistant coach Robin Smith has been on the sideline with Moorman for all 10 of those championships, joining the Scouts in the late 1980s.
“Your success also goes with the help that you get, and Robin’s been exceedingly great help,” Moorman said. “At first when he came, he had a struggle to even hit the ball. But now, he’s just been a great, great help. I can’t emphasize that enough. Without him, I would’ve been in bad shape. What I don’t think of, he already takes care of anymore: ‘I’ll do it, I’ll do it.’ Very, very gracious, very helpful. He’s got a dry sense of humor that the kids like. He’s been with me, and I’ve really appreciated his time and efforts. One reason we were successful is because of him.”
Smith joked that Moorman has hinted at retirement multiple times in the past. If this is the one that sticks, though, Smith indicated he’ll join Moorman in retirement. Both are ready to turn the program over to assistant coach Lena Kallevig, a former player of theirs.
They’ll hope that transition doesn’t start too soon, though. Bridger lost its first-round match Thursday — a 25-23, 13-25, 25-21, 12-25, 15-8 loss to Simms. The Scouts will return to the Fieldhouse floor on Friday, taking on Plentywood in a 10 a.m. loser-out match.
If that is Moorman’s final match coaching the Scouts, he has no regrets when looking back at the past 34 years.
“It’s been an enjoyment,” Moorman said. “It’s been a fun opportunity, and I’m grateful that God gave me that opportunity.”
(Editor’s note: MTN Sports will have much more with Wayne Moorman on Sunday as our featured Sunday Conversation.)