BILLINGS — When the final decision needed to be made, those in charge wanted someone who knew Rocky Mountain College athletics.
Then the decision became easy.
School officials recently removed the “interim” tag from athletic director Jeff Malby’s job title.
He is now simply, Jeff Malby, athletic director for the Battlin’ Bears.
Malby oversees an athletic department that lists 14 sports on the school’s website.
“It means a lot,” said Malby when reached by phone at the Frontier Conference meetings in Whitefish on Tuesday afternoon. “It’s very humbling, honestly. To be in charge of something that important to the college.”
Malby has been the interim athletic director since February of 2018 when Bruce Parker stepped down because of health reasons.
Football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, volleyball, men’s soccer, men’s golf and women’s golf all advanced to the NAIA postseason this past academic year.
The Battlin’ Bears also continued to host the NAIA National Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament.
“The foundation has been there for a while,” Malby continued, crediting previous athletic directors Terry Corey, Bobby Beers and Parker. “I feel like I stepped into a good situation.
“You have to credit the administrative side that cares and supports what we do. We have a strong group of coaches and when it’s all said and done, top-notch student-athletes.”
The Three Forks native played basketball for the Battlin’ Bears and has been both the head coach for men’s and women’s basketball during his time at the school. He guided the women’s basketball team to its first NAIA National Tournament appearance in 1988.
It is his second time as athletic director. The first was the 1989-90 when he was both the AD and men’s basketball coach.
“I don’t know how much more experience you can have than that,” said Brad Nason, the vice president and dean for student life at Rocky Mountain College. “Jeff does a great job of bringing the academic experience to the student athlete.”
Nason said there was strong interest in the position. But it was Malby’s understanding of the school and the teams’ success in the classroom put him to the front of the line.
“He has a great vision, a great understanding for the student-athlete and that set him apart,” Nason said.
Malby doesn’t see any major changes on the horizon.
“Not a lot of tweaks are needed,” he said. “I might assert myself a little more now.
“But I’ll just keep plugging away.”