Bigfork’s Epperly, Glacier’s Kola among Montana finalists for national coaching awards

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Bigfork’s Jim Epperly and Glacier’s Jim Kola are among 14 Montanan finalists for national coaching or athletic director awards, the Montana Coaches Association announced Tuesday.

In a press release, the MCA noted Malta’s Scott King was singled out as a finalist for National Athletic Director of the year; the other 13 finalists are up for National Coach of the Year through the National High School Athletic Coaches Association.

That includes Epperly and Kola, who are up for assistant coach of the year – Epperly for boys’ basketball and Kola for girls’ hoops.

Additionally Bob Owen of Polson is a finalist for national wrestling coach of the year, and Polson’s Larry Smith is a finalist for the same honor for softball.

The nominees were selected based on longevity, service to high school athletics, honors, championship years and winning percentage. Just eight finalists are selected nationwide for each category. The NHSACA has been recognizing coaches of the year since 1978.

All the finalists will be honored at the national awards banquet set for July 23 in Lincoln, Nebraska. For more information go to: http://www.hscoaches.org/

Montana NHSACA Finalists

Mark Albert, Hamilton, boys’ cross country; Paul Barta, Laurel, boys’ basketball; James Epperly, Bigfork, girls’ basketball assistant; Cindy Farmer, Hardin, girls’ cross country; Spencer Huls, Corvallis, girls’ track and field; Scott King, Malta, athletic director; Jim Kola, Glacier, girls’ basketball assistant; Les Meyer, Fairfield, football; Julie O’Dell, Hardin, special sports; Bob Owen, Polson, wrestling; Eric Peterson, Helena, girls’ basketball; Larry Smith, Polson, softball; Iona Stookey, volleyball, Huntley Project; Bret Thompson, Charlo, boys’ track and field; Gregg Wasson, Harlowton, golf.

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