BILLINGS — Shepherd activities director Rich Hash is ready to become a fan again.

Hash, who is in his ninth year total over two stints as AD, is resigning the position effective at the end of June. Hash will remain with Shepherd as the middle school principal.

In July, Tina Downing will become AD at Shepherd. Downing is currently a high school and middle school special education teacher in the Shepherd School District and has already been helping in scheduling, Hash said.

"She'll do a fantastic job," Hash said.

Hash began with Shepherd in July 2009, as a vice principal for grades 7-12 and AD and after the first school year moved into the role of middle school principal and AD. After six years, he stepped down as AD to become an assistant women's basketball coach at Rocky Mountain College while remaining at Shepherd as middle school principal. 

When Shepherd needed an AD three years after Hash first stepped down, he decided to once again take on the responsibility.

"I love Shepherd and have always been committed here," Hash, 51, said, while adding he'll be available if Downing has questions when she moves into her new position. "Shepherd is a good school and has good academics. We have our ups and downs in athletics, but we pride ourselves in our academics. If you can have some good teams, that's a plus." 

Hash — who grew up in Joliet, graduated from Rocky Mountain College and achieved his administration degree from Montana State — said dealing with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has been a challenge. He explained that with all the decisions that have been made, it's hard to please everyone.

"I had a feeling a couple people on staff were interested," Hash said of his decision to step down as AD. "This year with the COVID, I didn't need the grief for another year." 

Hash's son, Connor, is a sophomore who plays football and basketball.

"I have a kid playing at Shepherd as a sophomore," Hash said. "I want to go to a game and watch him play; that was my ultimate decision.

"If I want to go watch him play football in Malta, I don't want to go in the position as AD."

Email Gazette Deputy Sports Editor John Letasky at john.letasky@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsJohnL

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