BILLINGS — The hiring process was new due to the novel coronavirus, but Bozeman Public Schools Activities Director Mark Ator feels the Bozeman Hawks got the right man to lead the wrestling program.

Sean Dellwo is the new wrestling coach at Bozeman High, pending school board approval.

Ator said Dellwo, who formerly coached the Belgrade Panthers, was hired May 15 after an online meeting. He will also teach math at the school.

The school board will address personnel moves during the first part of June, Ator said.

Dellwo would succeed Nate Laslovich, the longtime Hawks coach who will now be guiding the new Gallatin High School opening in Bozeman this fall.

This past year, Dellwo led the Panthers in the transition from Class A to Class AA.

Bozeman placed fourth in the State AA tourney and Belgrade was 13th, although the Panthers did not have their star, John Mears, for most of the season. His bid for a fourth consecutive state title was ended by concussions as he was ruled out before the seeding tournament began.

Dellwo was an assistant for Laslovich on the 2010-11 Hawks team.

Dellwo told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and Belgrade News that he was ready to get to work with the Hawks.

"It'll be a lot of work. I've talked to Nate Laslovich about it quite a bit, and he talked about the fact that you got to hit the ground running," Dellwo was quoted as saying on the Chronicle website. "You got to be recruiting kids and getting kids excited about the sport, and that's kind of what we were working on here in Belgrade. I think I finally figured out how to get kids engaged, and I'm going to take those skills and move it over to Bozeman." 

Bozeman won State AA titles under Laslovich in 2011 and 2019.

“It’s definitely good to get somebody who has been a head coach at the AA level and he has coached in Bozeman, so he knows the community and culture of Bozeman High School,” Ator told 406mtsports.com.

“Sean is impressive as a teacher and as a coach. He is strong with building relationships with kids and teachers,” Ator said. “We think he will fit in well at Bozeman High and keep building the tradition. I think he and Nate will work well together.”

Ator said he hopes Dellwo and Laslovich work together on the annual Tom LeProwse tourney, possible camps and “getting kids out for wrestling at both schools.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing efforts, Ator said it was an interesting interview process.

And, Ator would know. Between Bozeman and Gallatin high schools, he has recently had to hire head coaches to coordinate the opening of Gallatin and fill positions at Bozeman High. Head coaches at Bozeman had the option to remain at the school or transfer to Gallatin.

However, before hiring a wrestling coach at Bozeman, the transactions were done by state tournament time this past winter and the hiring committee was able to sit together on the interviews.

“We’ve done interviews via the phone or Facetime, but it was the first time the whole committee was on the computer as well as all the candidates,” Ator said.

The only head coaching positions left to fill are the golf coach at Bozeman and a head dance coach for Bozeman and Gallatin.

“It’s been a challenging process,” Ator said. “It’s been fun. I have been part of the assistant coach hiring. There is such newness to what is going on, but that is a challenge because we are doing a bunch of virtual meetings.”

The procedure for hiring a Hawks golf coach next week will be conducted much the same as the hiring of Dellwo.

“You try and keep the process the same,” Ator said. “The one thing, like asking questions, you have to make sure you have a plan going in. I usually have each person on the committee ask a question, and you make sure in advance you know that. You try to be a little more coordinated so it doesn’t take as long. You should always be organized, but there is just a little more planning that goes into it.”

And while it was the first time during the series of hires a head coaching position was filled after a process basically conducted online, Ator said hiring Dellwo worked out well.

“To get the teaching and coaching to match up and get someone who had previous experience at the AA level was a bonus for us,” he said.

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

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