HELENA — East Helena acting superintendent Ron Whitmoyer is in the process of building a coaching staff for the new high school's sports teams, which are scheduled to compete in Class A beginning this fall.
Whitmoyer said he was pleased with the coaches on a short list the Vigilantes publicly released.
He said he will continue to build a coaching staff for teams that will only compete on the freshman level the first year, unless athletes meet state-qualifying times in varsity events.
"We do have several assistant coaches and volunteers and we are excited about that, but we have a lot of positions yet to fill," Whitmoyer said. "It trickles down into the middle school. We will have three other middle school coaching positions to fill because three of our middle school coaches have moved up."
Whitmoyer also has hired an athletic director who will begin duties in the fall. East Helena native Shaun Murgel will be AD and also the new scbhool's vice principal.
The following is a list of coaches hired thus far, and their credentials:
Gus Somerfeld, football coach: Somerfield, who is new to the East Helena K-12 School District, is a former Carroll College football player. He will conduct summer workouts and weight training in the new East Valley Middle School weight room, according to the East Helena press release.
Ty Ridgeway, boys basketball: Ridgeway, who played basketball at Helena Capital and Northern Montana College (now MSU-Northern), has an affinity for the game, Whitmoyer said.
"He always wanted to coach high school basketball," Whitmoyer said. "This is his dream come true to have the opportunity to build a program he can be proud of. He's an amazing teacher and human being. The man has a heart of gold, and pours it into the kids that he works with."
Carson Bender, girls basketball: Bender is a former University of Montana football player and a Deer Lodge graduate. He wore the revered No. 37 when he played football for the Griz.
"It's a number that has been handed down through time to the most stellar and trusted athletes on the field, and generally the most feared because players that usually wear that number are defensive players," Whitmoyer said. "He will move up to coaching high school and like Ty, will begin to build his program. He and Ty will work together."
Whitmoyer expressed his optimism as both Bender and Ridgeway mold the East Helena basketball programs.
"The potential they both have is incredible, and the thing they will bring to the table, most importantly as coaches, is their heart," he said. "These coaches love what they do, and more importantly, they love the kids they work with. They are incredible teachers and coaches who have a heart of gold."
Alyssa Salerno, boys, girls golf: Salerno has taken a proactive approach toward building a successful golf program. She has 15 athletes signed up for the 2019-2020 fall season, and could still add more to the list before school starts.
Megan Surginer, softball coach: Surginer is a former Idaho State softball player.
Karla Layson, girls volleyball: Layson has experience competing at the collegiate level at Carroll and she also brings coaching experience at the elementary level.
The soccer and cross country coaching positions are still in the process of being filled.