BILLINGS — August “Tiger” Scalpcane is stepping down from the only athletic director job he’s ever had.
Monday will be Scalpcane’s final day as Lame Deer’s AD, he told The Billings Gazette and 406mtsports.com. He took a position as drug coordinator for the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, ending his seven-year run as Lame Deer’s AD, which he called “one of the best experiences I had in my life.”
“I’m definitely going to miss everyone and everything about it,” Scalpcane said. “It gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of amazing and great people.”
Scalpcane plans to coach at Lame Deer for one more season. He will switch from girls to boys basketball coach, succeeding Doug Blackman. The new girls coach will be Cameron McCormick, who was Absarokee’s boys coach last season. Before that, McCormick coached the girls at Lodge Grass, Northern Cheyenne and Rocky Boy for one season each.
Lame Deer is in the process of finding Scalpcane's successor for AD, he said.
Scalpcane cited several reasons for changing jobs, not least of which were the rigors of being AD.
“All the stuff you deal with in a school and on the front lines, it’s kind of hard on a person, especially when you’re involved in sports. You’ve got to deal with all the parents. They’re always mad about something,” he said with a laugh. “I reached my potential with that job. I needed more challenge.”
Before Lame Deer, Scalpcane worked with the Northern Cheyenne transition program for nine years and wanted “to get my foot back in the door with the tribe,” he said. The new job also gives him a chance to help people, something he finds especially appealing after losing his son, Keeshawn, to suicide in 2019.
“It might help me heal a little bit, by helping other people,” Scalpcane said. “I’m still in the healing process.”
Keeshawn would have been a senior this coming school year. His good friend, Journey Emerson, and other incoming senior boys at Lame Deer urged Scalpcane to coach them. That’s why he’s taking the boys position and only committing to one season, which will be his 21st as a coach.
“I felt I owed it to them,” Scalpcane said.
Scalpcane nearly lost his life in the fall when he contracted COVID-19. He got tendinitis in both knees a few months later, and he still feels some pain. The combination of health issues, Keeshawn’s death and the demands of the AD and coaching jobs made Scalpcane reassess his priorities. The main one is his family, particularly his wife, Annette.
“One thing we take for granted is time,” Scalpcane said. “We think we’ve got enough time, but we really don’t.”