Kola, Wilson Inducted into Legends Wall of Fame

Jim Kola and Brent Wilson join 28 other inductees at the Legends Wall of Fame

By Beacon Staff
Legends Stadium Wall of Fame inductee Jim Kola is introduced during halftime. Flathead defeated Glacier 39-34 during the crosstown game on Feb. 23, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Two new “legends” were inducted last week into the Wall of Fame at Legends Stadium.

Jim Kola and Brent Wilson join 28 other inductees at the Legends Wall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place place Feb. 23 at the Flathead High gymnasium during the crosstown basketball matchup between Flathead and Glacier.

The Legends Stadium Selection Committee met Dec. 14 and reviewed four nominations for the Legends Wall of Fame Class of 2017. Inductees were chosen based upon community service; excellence in leadership, academics and teaching in Kalispell Public Schools; outstanding athletic accomplishments in the Kalispell community; and accomplishments at Legends Stadium and the playing fields and gymnasiums of School District 5 and the state of Montana.

Kola graduated from Red Lodge High School and attended Montana State University, graduating with a degree in math and chemistry. He began his teaching career at Kalispell Junior High in 1969 and retired from teaching after 32 years in the classroom in 2001. He has served as an assistant track and field coach in the Flathead High School and Glacier High School track programs since 1970. He also has been an assistant basketball coach for boys and girls basketball in School District 5.

He has coached 12 state-champion boys and seven state-champion girls in hurdles. He has been a member of the coaching staff on six Class AA boys state champion track and field teams and 10 girls teams.

Kola was a nominee in 2011 for the National Assistant Track and Field Coach.  He was nominated again for the same honor in 2014 and has been again nominated in 2017 for this prestigious national award.

Wilson graduated from Flathead High School in 1970. He was a dominating force in basketball his four years as a Braves basketball player. He began his stellar athletic career in Kalispell by winning the National Punt, Pass and Kick championship in 1963 in Chicago at the NFL championship between the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants. He was attending Hedges School when he won the national award.

He started all four years for the Braves in basketball. As a 6-foot-11 sophomore, junior and senior, he was an all-state first team selection as a center.

Wilson and the Braves, coached by Chuck Goligoski, played in the Big 32 at that time in Montana basketball history. The Braves won the Big 32 Western Division Championship in 1968 and 1969. His senior year, the Braves won the Big 16 Western Conference Championship in 1970.

In his tenure for the Braves, Wilson scored 1,930 points and collected 1,328 rebounds. As a senior, he scored 703 points and grabbed 417 rebounds, both single-season records at Flathead.

In track and field, he threw the shot put and discus. He won the state championship in the shot put in 1970. He earned a full-ride basketball scholarship to Montana State University and played two years for the Bobcats before transferring to Colorado State University, where he played two years for the Rams. He played professional basketball for a year in Sweden.

Wilson and his wife are presently running an assisted home for adults in Yuma, Arizona.

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