Flathead High School activities director Bryce Wilson announced in an email on Thursday that Kyle Samson has resigned as the school’s head football coach after five seasons.
Samson guided the Braves to back-to-back playoff appearances the last two years.
“Kyle is very passionate about football and brought enthusiasm every day to practice and games,” Wilson said.
“He has worked to build a Flathead football family that worked hard on and off the field. Kyle has an opportunity to pursue his career dream of being a head coach in college; the next step for him will be as the offensive coordinator for the Montana Tech football program in the Frontier Conference. This is a tremendous opportunity for him.”
Flathead (9-4) lost to Billings West 20-14 in the championship game in Billings in mid-November. The Braves finished the regular season with a 7-3 record and were the No. 4 seed for the playoffs. Flathead beat Billings Senior 52-35 in the quarterfinals and Bozeman in the semifinals 21-17 to advance to the AA championship game for the first time since 2000.
Flathead’s last state championship was in 1970.
The Braves finished 6-4 and were the No. 4 seed for the playoffs in 2017, Samson’s fourth season. The Braves lost in the quarterfinals that year to Helena Capital at Legends Stadium 24-10.
“Kyle’s passion for the ‘Flathead Family’ and the ‘Count on Me’ culture resulted in the Braves making the championship game this past season,” Wilson said.
“He held our students to the highest standards on the field and in the community where our students served many within the Flathead Valley.
“He was able to help the Braves football program improve throughout his time as our coach, changing our culture along the way,” Wilson continued.
“Our student-athletes worked hard throughout the year to improve skills and strength. As we move forward, we will work to continue the tradition of a quality program and the road map that Kyle has laid out for Flathead High School football. Kyle pushed our program by getting our student-athletes to work hard, show integrity and put team above self.
“Kyle Samson and I will always be close as we worked together these past five years,” Wilson added. “He proved to be a great hire and even a better friend who I will always support.”
Samson’s overall record at Flathead was 27-27 with the Braves making three postseason appearances.
“It has been a dream of mine to be a head football coach at the college level and this is an opportunity that can help me reach my goal,” Samson said in a message sent to Flathead players and parents on Thursday.
“Although this job is a step to fulfill my dream, it was an extremely difficult decision for us to leave the amazing people and family here at Flathead.”
Wilson said the process for finding a new head coach will start immediately.
“I am excited to welcome coach Samson, his wife Brooke and their family to Montana Tech and the city of Butte,” said Montana Tech head coach Chuck Morrell in a media release.
“Kyle has done a tremendous job as the head football coach at Flathead, bringing that program into the top tier of the AA ranks here the last few years.”
Samson coached in the Frontier Conference previously when he served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for seven seasons at Montana State Northern from 2007-14.
“When searching for a new offensive coordinator, I was looking for three things: Energy, leadership, and a fit schematically with what I want to see our offense accomplish,” Morrell said. “Coach Samson easily checked off all those boxes and as an added bonus has some tremendous internal ties to the state of Montana that will help us continue to bolster our successful in-state recruiting efforts.”
Samson replaces Pete Sterbick on the Tech staff. Sterbick has taken a similar position at the Colorado School of Mines after serving as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for five seasons.