BILLINGS — Fifteen Montanans are finalists for National Coach of the Year or National Athletic Director of the Year awards, the Montana Coaches Association announced Tuesday.
Malta's Scott King in the lone Montanan eligible for the national AD award, and there are two Montana assistant coach of the year finalists: James Epperly (Bigfork) and Jim Kola (Kalispell Glacier).
Among head coaches, there are 12 Montana finalists: Mark Albert (Hamilton boys cross country), Paul Barta (Laurel boys basketball), Cindy Farmer (Hardin girls cross country), Spencer Huls (Corvallis girls track), 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 (Huntley Project volleyball), Bret Thompson (Charlo boys track) and Gregg Wasson (Harlowton golf).
The finalists for these awards were nominated by each member state and determined by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association, which judged coaches based on longevity, service to high school athletics, honors, championships and winning percentage.
Finalists will be honored at the NHSACA National Convention in Lincoln, Nebraska, on July 23. The NHSACA National Coach of the Year will be awarded in 19 recognized sports categories.