BILLINGS — After nine years as athletic director and 25 years overall at Montana State University Billings, Krista Montague announced her resignation on Tuesday upon the completion of the 2021 spring semester.
“While stepping away from my role as athletic director is the most difficult decision I have ever had to make, it is the right time to do so both for myself and for my family,” Montague said. “I am proud of everything our student-athletes and coaches have achieved during my time at MSUB, and I look forward to finishing this 2021 spring semester strong. I am eternally thankful for my time at MSUB — from competing as a student-athlete on our women’s basketball team 25 years ago to leading the department over the last nine years. The Yellowjacket family will always be close to my heart, and MSUB will forever be my home.”
Montague, who was named interim athletic director on Sept. 11, 2012, and permanent athletic director on May 10, 2013, will serve in her current position through June 30. The university will announce plans for the search for the next director of intercollegiate athletics in the coming weeks.
“Krista’s resignation is a tremendous loss for MSUB, but we support her in her future endeavors,” MSUB Chancellor Stefani Hicswa said. “I have only known Krista for a short time, but she is one of the best athletic directors I have worked with. MSUB has been lucky to have her, and she will be greatly missed.”
Under Montague’s guidance over the last decade, the Yellowjacket athletic department has experienced notable success competitively, academically and developmentally.
History was made in basketball in 2017-18, as Montague watched a women’s basketball team she was once part of match her status with an NCAA DII Elite Eight appearance. It was the first NCAA West Region championship for the program since Montague’s senior season in 1998-99, as the Yellowjackets won both the GNAC Championships tournament and the regional.
During Montague’s tenure, MSUB has claimed eight Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships — five in baseball, two in women’s basketball and one in softball. MSUB has made five NCAA regional team appearances, with three in women’s basketball and one each in baseball and softball and 10 individual regional and national appearances in men’s golf and men’s and women’s track and field.
Montague led the efforts to secure hosting rights for numerous GNAC and NCAA DII championship events throughout her tenure as well. MSUB hosted GNAC championships in softball, baseball, men’s and women’s basketball and cross country, as well as three NCAA DII West Region Cross Country Championship events. Montague also led the Desert Stinger softball tournament, the nation’s largest single-site Division II softball event, for the 10th consecutive year in the spring of 2020.
MSUB won back-to-back GNAC academic all-sports women’s titles in 2012-13 and 2013-14, highlighting the department’s academic success under Montague. Overall, MSUB won 16 team GNAC academic all-sports titles including six in women’s golf, four in baseball, two in women’s soccer, one in women’s basketball, one in women’s cross country, one in softball and one in women’s track and field.
Montague began her employment with MSUB in July 2002 as the department’s development and marketing director. Shortly after she was appointed to the position of senior woman administrator, making her the highest-ranking female administrator in the athletic department. In 2005, the titles of assistant AD and NCAA compliance coordinator were added to her duties, while she still managed the corporate partnership program and special events for the department. In 2009, Montague was promoted to associate AD. Her primary responsibilities included overseeing and managing NCAA DII compliance for each of the sports and co-ed cheer, as well as serving as a crucial member of the athletics senior administration team and academic liaison between the different campus constituencies and athletics.
When MSU Billings announced the hiring of Montague on May 10, 2013, it became the first NCAA institution in Montana to have a female athletic director.
Montague, a native of Hysham, received her undergraduate degree in business administration with an option in marketing in 1999 from MSU Billings. She went on to complete a master's degree in public relations at MSU Billings.
Montague was a four-year letterwinner for the MSUB women’s basketball team and left the program with the school record for career free-throw percentage. Her teams won the Pacific West Conference championship three out of four years and she participated in the NCAA DII west region women’s basketball tournament all four years. As a senior, Montague helped MSU Billings to the West Region Championship and the program's first Elite Eight appearance in women’s basketball.
Montague lives in Billings with her husband Brent and two daughters Shayla — a sophomore on the Yellowjacket women’s basketball team — and Allie.