Flathead's Hodge to be inducted into national coaches hall of fame
Longtime Flathead High School boys’ track and field coach Dan Hodge has will be inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) Hall of Fame on June 19 in Minneapolis.
Hodge, who is entering his 39th season as head coach of the Braves and his 43rd overall, has won six state and 17 divisional championships in his tenure at Flathead. His teams have also placed second seven times at the state meet and 10 times at divisional meets. Five Braves have been named the Gatorade Player of the Year under his watch.
Hodge was named the NHSACA boys track and field coach of the year in 2012 and has been a finalist for the award four times. He has been named the Montana Coaches Association coach of the year seven times and was inducted into the Montana Coaches Hall of Fame in 1998.
He is the third Flathead coach to be inducted into the NHSACA hall of fame, joining former girls track and field coach Joe McKay, who was inducted in 2001, and cross country coach Paul Jorgensen, inducted in 2003. Jorgensen, who serves as the distance coach under Hodge, has led Flathead to 13 girls and 11 boys cross country state championships. McKay led the Bravettes to 12 state championships before retiring in 2001.
A native of Butte, Hodge was an all-conference performer in both football and track at Montana State University, serving as an assistant track coach for the Bobcats in 1968. He came to Kalispell after serving in the U.S. Army as a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War, beginning his coaching career as an assistant in the fall of 1972. In his 43 years with the school, has also spent time as an assistant coach on the Braves football team.
In high school, he was coached by one of the first inductees, legendary Butte High coach Harry “Swede” Dahlberg, who entered the hall in 1999 as the fourth inductee from Montana.
“You look at the list of coaches, all these guys have been tremendous coaches over the years,” Hodge said. “They’re all respected. It’s just a great group of people to be associated with.”
He also credited his coaching staff at Flathead, many of which have spent much of the last four decades coaching by his side.
“Every one of them contributed to these wins and losses,” Hodge said. “I’ve learned a lot from these individuals over the years.”
Hodge is joined in this year’s induction class by Billings Senior volleyball coach Jeff Carroll, who has led the Broncs to 12 state championships in his 29 years as head coach.
There have been 25 previous Montana coaches inducted to the hall of fame since its creation in 1996. Former Whitefish golf coach Terry Nelson was the last coach from the area, entering in 2011.