GREAT FALLS — The annual Montana Coaches Association awards ceremony and clinic was held throughout Great Falls CMR as coaches from across the state, and even a select few outside of it, showed up to honor the exceptional coaches earning their accolades and listen to others presentations.
The clinic is in day two of three with many of the coaches learning from the likes of those with many years of experience under their belt.
“It was huge for me in my development for the young coaches around the state and even the older coaches,” MCA Executive Director Don Olsen said. “It just, it means a lot.”
There were five Montana High School Hall of Fame inductees in this years class: Mark Albert from Hamilton, Spencer Huls from Corvallis, Rod Karst from Glasgow, Rod Paskey from Frenchtown and Jeff Thompson from Kalispell Flathead.
“It’s just kind of surreal,” Thompson admitted. “You’re kind of part of something bigger than you now…all these amazing coaches that came in front of me, they're part of the Hall of Fame.”
There were also two National High School Association Coaching Award winners with Mike McLean of Great Falls CMR for his 13 state titles from both boys basketball and softball being inducted into the National Coaches Hall of Fame. Hardin’s Laura Sundheim also walked away with national recognition, winning the Kathy Holloway Women of Inspiration award for her 21 years of serving as the head volleyball coach, amassing five state titles.
“I guess I didn't realize the magnitude of the award until I went to Des Moines, to the national convention, and heard them talk about the award and the history of it and the purpose of it," Sundheim said. "I was humbled and almost embarrassed that I didn't understand the magnitude of that and people have been just so very gracious.”