Saturday, May 15, 2021

O-line coach Cummings elevated to guide Flathead

Daily Inter Lake | April 13, 2021 9:44 PM

Flathead High found its next football coach on its own staff, elevating Alex Cummings to lead the program in 2021.

Cummings, a Missoula native, has coached the Braves’ offensive line for six seasons, and also spent the last two as Matt Upham’s assistant head coach.

Flathead activities director Bryce Wilson announced the recommendation on Tuesday via email; the school board will have to approve it.

“It’s been a wild 48 hours here,” Cummings said Tuesday. “Just a whirlwind. Things move so fast. A lot of people have been reaching out today and calling and texting. A lot of moving parts. It’s been a good day.”

Cummings continues the Samson connection at Flathead: He played O-line for Marc and Kyle Sampson at MSU-Northern from 2009-13; after spending the 2014 season as an assistant at his high school alma mater, Missoula Big Sky, he joined Kyle Samson’s staff at Flathead in 2015.

Samson went 27-27 in five seasons at Flathead and finished with a flourish — his last team went 9-4 and lost 20-14 to Billings West in the 2018 State AA title game.

Samson, who left to become Montana Tech’s offensive coordinator, has since replaced Chuck Morrell as the Orediggers’ head coach.

Upham stepped down after two seasons in which the Braves went 2-15.

“I just think we need to get back to our roots, and I said this to the team today: I believe we are a blue-collar school in a blue-collar town,” Cummings said. “My philosophy is no secret — play as hard and fast as you can for four quarters and build that family mentality of, ‘I’m not going to lose for my brothers.’ We’ll be physical, disciplined and do things the right way.

“I think that’s where we found a lot of success under Kyle and I think we can get back to that in the near future.”

Cummings said a team meeting was held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in which Wilson introduced him as head coach. Set to get married in August, the 29-year-old Cummings will move from teaching English at the middle school to doing the same at Flathead High.

Summer football camps await, depending on the status of the pandemic.

“But my biggest focus right now is having a great weight room summer and a great running summer,” Cummings said. “I’m looking forward to continuing that.

“It’s a huge opportunity and I’m very humbled by it. I’m just excited to see our kids get rolling. There’s a 100 years of tradition here, and that’s a heavy deal, but I’m really excited.”