Montana State skiing

Montana State head alpine coach Kevin Francis is stepping down from the program.

BOZEMAN — Montana State head alpine coach Kevin Francis is stepping away from the program after eight seasons. The 2016 United States Collegiate Ski Association National Coach of the Year cited spending more time with his young family as the main reason.

“It has been the greatest privilege of my coaching career to be a part of the Bobcat family and coach the alpine ski team here in Bozeman,” Francis said. “After eight years and an incredible ride, it is time for me to step back to spend more time with my family.”

During his tenure with MSU, Francis led the Bobcats to eight consecutive top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including a program-best fourth place in 2016. In all, he coached 11 first-team all-American performers and 22 second-team all-American selections.

“Kevin is leaving his mark on the Bobcat Ski program and will be missed,” MSU athletic director Leon Costello said. “He built a program that was successful in the classroom and competition. We wish him nothing but the best and thank him for everything he has done for Bobcat athletics.”

In 2017, Francis coached Benedicte Lyche to a national giant slalom title, making her just the fourth Bobcat to ever capture a national championship. Lyche was named the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association women’s alpine skier of the year.

“The Bobcats have shown me what commitment means,” Francis said. “I actually learned the definition of grit from one of our Bobcats. It has been a humbling experience to work with and try to keep up with our skiers, student-athletes, and amazing individuals. I want to thank all the athletes, boosters, alumni and fans for an unforgettable experience. I will definitely see you on the slopes.”

Francis took over the Bobcat program on Oct. 11, 2013. Aside from his coaching duties, he also served on the NCAA Skiing Committee.

Prior to his move to MSU, Francis was the head alpine coach for Mammoth Mountain in California. He also was a member of an NCAA contingent that traveled to La Parva, Chile to conduct team-focused camps. Francis was a member of the US Ski team from 2001-2009 and won the national Super G title in 2008.

A three-time RMISA coach of the year, Francis earned a degree in earth sciences from Dartmouth in 2010, where he also skied with the Big Green.

According to Costello, a national search for MSU’s next alpine head coach begins immediately.

Colton Pool can be reached at cpool@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @CPoolReporter.

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