BOZEMAN — From competing as a Bobcat in the early 2000s to working his way up as the rodeo head coach, Montana State has always been home for Andy Bolich.
But as the saying goes, every story has an ending, and after 22 years of kicking up dust with the Bobcats, he’s calling it a career.
“I just want to thank everybody," Bolich smiled. "It’s been a great time. That program has such a near and dear place in my heart, and my family’s heart, but it’s just full of so many good people and students. The program is going to continue to do awesome, and a lot of it is because of all the great people behind it, and all the great people in it.”
Bolich first stepped on campus in the fall of 1999, where he made the college finals all four years of his eligibility. It was a full-circle moment for him earlier this month, ending his coaching career on the same stage where it all started while also winning a national championship.
“It’s been a great program for so many years, and then to kind of cap off my ending with a national championship was super exciting and fun," Bolich said. "It was a great run we had, and it’s been a lot of fun. So many great athletes and people involved with the program, so it’s been a blessing.”
While rodeoing at Montana State, Andy met his wife Tracey who was also on the team.
The two of them have since welcomed three boys - Blaise (14), Brooks (11), and Bentz (9) - who have also fallen in love with the sport, which played a major factor in his reason for stepping down.
“Our kids are growing up so fast, and they’re getting busy the older they get chasing rodeos on the weekends and evenings and stuff," Bolich explained. "Something had to change, and that’s the direction we needed to go as a family. It’s been super bittersweet, but it’s been a great run, and it’s going to be fun chasing our boys from here on out.”
While this may be the end of an era for Montana State rodeo, Bolich says this isn’t a goodbye, but a see you later.
“We’ll put the focus on our boys for sure, but we have so many ties to so many students and the program and supporters and stuff, so we’re going to be around indefinitely," he said. "But they’re going to move on and do their thing, and we’re going to chase our guys for a while, but we’ll always be Bobcats for sure.”