Byrd Earns Coaching Recognition

Columbia Falls coach honors as top Montana Class A boys soccer mentor

By Micah Drew
Columbia Falls Wildcats coach O’Brien Byrd celebrates the team’s 5-2 win over the Park High Rangers for the Class A state soccer tournament at Columbia Falls High School on Oct. 29, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Columbia Falls coach O’Brien Byrd has been named the 2022 Class A Boys Soccer Coach of the Year by the Montana Coaches Association (MCA) after leading the Wildcats to their first state championship since 2005.

Byrd guided the Wildcats soccer team to a third-straight state championship berth, and ultimately to the team title, a goal Columbia Falls has been chasing since Byrd took over the team in 2015. In the title game, the favorited Wildcats put away Livingston 5-2 at home, earning the program’s fourth title.

“No one had won a championships since these boys were born. We had to get them to manifest this great thing, this great accomplishment out of nothing,” Byrd said of the state title.

Byrd earned the MCA Coach of the Year recognition last year, and was named the Class A boys soccer coach of the year by the United Soccer Coaches organization in November.

The Montana Coaches Association names its coaches of the year across all sports and classifications at the end of each high school sports season. This school year’s winners will be honored at the 2023 MCA Awards, July 27 at C.M. Russell High School in Great Falls.