Search for New Flathead Hoops Coach Down to Three Finalists

The finalists will be interviewed Thursday with the goal of selecting the new head coach shortly after

By Dillon Tabish
Charlie Dotson takes a shot under pressure from teammates during Flathead High School's basketball practice. Lido Vizzutti/Flathead Beacon

The search for the next Flathead High School boys basketball coach is down to three finalists, administrators announced Tuesday.

Activities Director Bryce Wilson said a committee of five people narrowed the pool from 10 applicants to three finalists: Skip Schroeder, Jeff Epperly and Ross Gustafson.

The finalists will be interviewed Thursday with the goal of selecting the new head coach shortly after, Wilson said. The first day of practice is Nov. 19.

“The finalists selected all have quality experience coaching basketball at various levels. Each was able to show how they could direct the Flathead Basketball program,” Wilson stated.

Schroeder played at University of Montana-Western and served as an assistant coach for the men’s and women’s teams after graduating. Most recently he served as an assistant coach at Columbia Falls High School from 2007-15 for the boys and girls basketball programs.

Epperly, the son of former Flathead coach Bill Epperly, starred in basketball at Flathead High School in the 1980s and then played at Montana State University. He ranks among the all-time great Brave players, scoring the second most points in a season in 1981, and logging the second most rebounds in a season that same year.

Gustafson played at Carroll College in Helena and served as a junior varsity coach at Missoula Hellgate before coming to Kalispell, where he has served as an assistant coach at Flathead the past three seasons.

Fred Febach stepped down after 12 seasons last month. Flathead went 4-17 last year and missed out on the Class AA playoffs. In 12 seasons under Febach, the Braves were 113-135 with five state tournament appearances. The team placed second in 2012 as a No. 3 seed from the West after losing to top-ranked Billings West in the championship game, 61-48.

The interview committee that vetted candidates included Wilson, Peter Fusaro, Flathead’s principal, Dr. Kim Stimpson, a parent of a former Brave player, Mary Ruby, a member of the school board, and Kyle Samson, Flathead’s head football coach.

Further background and reference checks will be conducted leading up to the Thursday’s interview, Wilson said.

The head basketball coaching position pays a stipend of $6,136.28, among the top four paid activities positions in the school district. The head coach oversees the basketball program for grades 9-12, among other responsibilities.

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