Flathead Wrestling Coach to be Honored as ‘Legend’

Former Flathead wrestling coach Jeff Anderson will be inducted into the Legends Wall of Fame during crosstown wrestling meet

By Micah Drew
Wrestling coach Jeff Anderson pumps up the crowd at a Flathead High School held a pep rally on Nov. 15, 2018 as the football team departed for Billings for the Class AA State Football Championship against Billings West High School. Justin Franz | Flathead Beacon

Jeff Anderson, a longtime Flathead coach and science teacher, will be inducted into the Kalispell Public Schools Legends Wall of Fame and will be recognized between the girls and boys crosstown wrestling meets on Jan. 22, at approximately 6 p.m..

The Legends Wall of Fame selection committee chose Anderson as the latest “legend” to induct at their meeting in November 2020.

“I am incredibly humbled by my selection,” Anderson, a Kalispell native, told 406mtsports.com. “There are a lot of great athletes that have come through our schools and to be even put into the conversation, let alone being inducted in to the Legends Hall of Fame is a pretty special thing.”

Anderson is a 1982 Flathead High School graduate, where he was a member of both the cross country and wrestling teams, winning a state wrestling title as a senior.

As a college wrestler for the University of Montana, Anderson was the smallest and lightest wrestler to compete at the NCAA Division 1 level from 1984-87. He wrestled internationally, winning a Junior Pan-American Championship gold and silver medal, and was a four-time Olympic Trials qualifier.

His coaching and teaching careers began at Frenchtown High School, and he worked at Great Falls High School before returning to the Flathead to work at his alma mater. Anderson was the Braves head wrestling coach for seven years and served as the assistant coach for another 11 before retiring in 2020.

Anderson has been recognized by his wrestling peers, having been selected as a six time Montana Coaches Association assistant wrestling Coach of the Year, most recently in 2019.  He was selected as the USA Wrestling National Assistant Coach of the Year and was a 2019 National High School Association Assistant Coach of the year finalist.  He has been awarded the International Olympic Committee Volunteer of the Year and in 2017 Anderson was listed as an honorable mention to the Top 20 Montana Wrestlers of All Time list. Glacier High athletic director Mark Dennehy and Flathead High athletic director Bryce Wilson will present the Wall of Fame plaque on Jan. 22.

During the spring of 2004 the School District 5 Flathead High School Trustees voted to change the name of Rawson Field to Legends Stadium. With the outstanding students, athletes, teachers, coaches and administrators in School District 5, the board of trustees believed that the creation of the Legends Wall of Fame would be an effective way to recognize many individuals who have made a significant contribution to the local school community.

Inductees are chosen based upon the following criteria:
1 – Service to community
2 – Excellence in leadership, academics and teaching in the Kalispell School District
3 – Outstanding athletic accomplishments in the Kalispell community and beyond
4 – Accomplishments at Legends Stadium and on the playing fields and courses of District 5 high schools

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