Coaches for Florence and Hamilton have been selected Coaches of the Year by the Montana Coaches Association.
Craun said being selected is bonus to a great year.
“I’m really blessed to have the assistant coaches that I do and an amazing team of coaches to help me and the girls,” Craun said. “We coach well together. It is exciting for us to be state champions, especially after missing a year due to COVID.”
Florence Carlton High School Softball earned the state champion title on Saturday, May 29, in a hometown game where they defeated Mission-Arlee-Charlo (MAC) by a score of 10-4. It was FCHS’s 11th state title since 2000.
“Winning the state title on our own field was exciting for everybody,” Craun said. “To have our fans and the community support was great. Being able to perform under all that pressure with the girls how they did is really exciting. I’m so happy for them and what they accomplished.”
FCHS played MAC six times this year.
Craun is a longtime Bitterrooter who coached the Florence softball team when it first began.
“I was coaching when they started the program with Joe McKay,” Craun said. “I was an assistant coach for the high school for 10 years. That was with my older daughter. I had a new daughter and started over again. Some of the girls on the team I coached them since they were eight and nine years old.”
Last year would have been his first year, the team did get in six practices before the COVID closures.
Florence Carlton High School Principal Scott Marsh said he is happy for Craun, his staff and the student-athletes.
“It is always great winning a state championship, but winning one at home in front of the crowd was extra special,” Marsh said. “Florence has a lot of support for our softball program, and these parents, fans, coaches, athletes, and community members have put a lot of effort into making our facility so great. Our school and community couldn't be happier for this experience.”
HHS Track and Field Coach John Stromberg said it is an honor to be selected by fellow coaches but the accolades belong to the athletes.
“I am lucky to work with a group of dedicated assistants that help make my job a lot easier,” Stromberg said. “Having gifted and hard-working athletes is a blessing. Being selected as coach of the year is thanks to our athletes.”
Stromberg has been the Bronc head coach since 2009. The 2021 State Champion title is the Broncs’ second since 2014.
HHS Activities Director Travis Blome said Coach Stromberg did an excellent job this year managing the different protocols and regulations.
“He kept the kids focused and motivated throughout the season,” Blome said. “It was awesome to see them finish off the year with a state title.”
Montana Coaches Association COY Chairman Brian Campbell said the coaches will be honored at the an awards ceremony at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 29, at CMR High in Great Falls.