Sports

Bigfork, Eureka Name New Athletic Coaches

Jim Benn takes over Vikings football, Todd Brouillette at helm of Lions volleyball

Coach Benn sets new tone for young team on the gridiron

When the Bigfork High School football team takes the field this fall, there will be a new face leading the Vikings from the sidelines.

The school hired Jim Benn to take over the program from Patrick Munson, who coached for one season.

“We’re excited to have coach Benn lead the program,” Bigfork Activities Director Matt Porrovecchio said. “He has extensive background as a head coach and has already spent the summer working with our student athletes.”

Benn has coached across the state of Montana starting at Manhattan High, while he was attending Montana State University. From there, he did short stints at Corvallis and Huntley Project, eight seasons at Ronan and two at Malta. Most recently, he was the offensive coordinator and athletic director at Loyola in Missoula. His first season with the Vikings will be his 11th as a head coach.

“It’s been kind of fast and furious here,” Benn said.

Every morning this summer nearly 40 players showed up to the weight room, which Benn said has already set the tone for the season.

“They showed up, which is half the battle,” he said. “There’s lots of quality kids back, and they’re hungry to do well and continue the tradition here.”

Last year the Vikings went 3-6, but Benn calls that record deceiving.

“I coached against them at Loyola, and saw them take Red Lodge right to the wire,” Benn said, recalling last year’s playoff game when Bigfork almost held on for a spot in the state semifinals. “It’s a young team, and young guys make mistakes — that’s something that can be built on this year.”

Local pastor and lifelong setter takes over program

Lincoln County High School (Eureka) hired 43-year-old Todd Brouillette to lead the varsity volleyball program.

Brouillette has a long history with the sport. He’s been playing volleyball for more than two decades and most recently was the assistant coach at Plains.

“Coach Brouillette understands the intricacies of the game and how to pass that on to the players,” Activities Director Brendan Miller said. “The players’ knowledge of the game has already grown over the summer and will continue to grow through the season.”

Brouillette will be working as the pastor at Church of God in Eureka as a day job and coaching in the afternoons. His wife, Jeana, who is a teacher in the Lincoln County School District, will assist him on the court.

The coach plans to run a new offense and defense with his team, which he thinks will maximize the talents of his athletes. Eureka hasn’t played in the State B tournament for two years, a dry spell Brouillette aims to break.

Brouillette succeeds coach Casey Jacobson, who coached the Lions for two seasons.