Jim Kambich was thrilled when he found out he'd have an opportunity to be among the three finalists for the position of Athletic Director at Montana Western.
Born in Kalispell, Kambich has been around the Butte area for many years and is currently the President and CEO of the Montana Economic Research and Development Institute (MERDI). When he saw that the job was open, however, he couldn't pass up an opportunity to take a chance at getting into the sports administration world.
"I've always wanted to be involved with athletics," Kambich said. "These opportunities don’t come along very often and Dillon is a great, great sports town.
"I'm just honored to have the opportunity."
T.J. Nelson and Bill Wilson are the other two finalists for the job according to a UMW release. All three will give public presentations in the Swysgood Technology Center Great Room on the Montana Western Campus.
Kambich will present on Thursday at 3:30 p.m., Nelson presents on Dec. 11 at 3:30 p.m. and Wilson will make his case on Dec. 18, also at 3:30 p.m.
Working in sports administration might be new to Kambich, but he isn't unfamiliar with what he's getting himself into.
He's been around sports since he was a child, when he'd tag along with his father Bill — a coach and athletic director at Butte High for many years.
"Having been around athletic administration, I know some of the aspects of what the job entails," Kambich said. "There's long hours, travel that you have to put in. I remember with my dad, we'd be in Libby one night and Butte in the next.
"I was a tag-along kid, I loved going with."
Kambich is very familiar with the Frontier Conference as well. A four-year starting lineman at Carroll College, he later officiated for both Frontier and high school football games.
He also helped with the multi-million dollar campaign to help get Nelson Stadium in Helena built. Kambich has taught as well and spent five semesters as an adjunct professor at Montana Tech.
The other two candidates also have significant experience in athletic departments. T.J. Nelson is a former wrestling coach and led the Bulldogs to a NAIA national championship.
Nelson also severed as an Assistant Athletic Director. He was responsible for all athletic facilities and helped oversee fundraising for the Bulldog Booster Club. Nelson will also be inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame for coaching in March of 2018.
Bill Wilson has been the Director of Athletics at Pratt Community College (Kansas) for three years. Before his time in Pratt, he was the head women's basketball coach and Assistant Athletic Director at NCAA Division III Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin.
He also was the head women's basketball coach at Brevard College for three years. His coaching career began in 1995 at Upper Iowa University.