Former Deer Loge and Fort Benton coach Patrick Munson has been hired to lead the football program at Bigfork High School.
Munson, 37, was hired as a physical education teacher at Bigfork before the start of the 2018-19 school year and served on former coach Todd Emslie’s staff as an assistant last season. Emslie announced his retirement in January, ending a 16-year tenure that spanned two stints and saw the Vikings win eight District 7B championships and the 2010 Class B state title.
Munson brings 10 years of head coaching experience to the Vikings, having spent six seasons on the sidelines at Fort Benton (2006-11) and four at Deer Lodge (2014-17). Through his time at both programs, Munson became well aware of the tradition of success Emslie helped build at Bigfork and was eager to learn under the longtime Vikings mentor.
“Everybody knows how competitive Bigfork is,” Munson said. “I had gotten to know coach Emslie and he always struck me as an extremely good coach and someone that I would like to work with someday. I was kind of hoping he wasn’t going to retire.”
Bigfork Activities Director Matt Porrovecchio, whose son plays football for the Vikings, was impressed with both Munson’s football knowledge and personality through their first season working together, and is confident about the future of the Bigfork program under Munson’s watch.
“He’s thoughtful, he knows just about every coach in and around the state of Montana, and coaching football is a passion for him,” Porrovecchio said. “But beyond that he’s just a good guy. I feel good about the fact that he’s got a good heart, he’s got a good soul, and on top of that he really knows football.”
Munson is a Washington native and was a long-snapper and defensive end at Pacific Lutheran University, playing four seasons for College Football Hall of Fame coach Forrest “Frosty” Westering.
Bigfork went 9-2 in 2018 and reached the semifinals of the Class B state playoffs.