Thompson Returns as Flathead Wrestling Coach

Thompson previously coached from 2000 to 2008 when Flathead won four state championships

By Dillon Tabish
Jeff Thompson runs young wrestlers through a practice in 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

A renowned wrestling coach is retaking the reins of the storied program at Flathead High School.

School officials announced Wednesday that Jeff Thompson was selected to be the new head coach of the high school program. Thompson returns to a role he previously held from 2000-2008 when the Braves were a nationally ranked state championship dynasty.

Thompson, a business teacher at Flathead, has served as an assistant with the high school and youth programs in recent years. He is replacing Rich Vasquez, who stepped down last week after three years due to medical issues.

“Jeff is passionate about kids and wrestling,” Flathead Activities Director Bryce Wilson said. “He has a strong desire and commitment to continue the Flathead Wrestling programs success. He outlined his vision during the interview and provided a portfolio about how he plans to run the program. He conveyed the need to continue to build upon Coach Vasquez’s hard work.”

Wilson said Thompson has reached out to Jeff Anderson, Dallas Stucker, Kelly Quinn and a host of other coaches to help lead the Flathead wrestling program this winter. Practices start in November. Thompson takes over a rising program this winter that placed third a year ago and will enter this season as the presumptive No. 1 ranked team.

The National Wrestling Coaches Association twice named Thompson the organization’s regional coach-of-the-year. The Braves won four Class AA state titles under Thompson and went 126-19 in dual matches. The program produced 107 state placers, 48 state finalists and 13 state champions under Thompson, who was named Montana coach of the year in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008, when Flathead won titles. The Braves were ranked 10th nationally in 2008. Thompson was a three-time state champion wrestler at Great Falls High School in the early 1990s and wrestled varsity at the University of Minnesota.

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