Longtime Helena High assistant coach Manny Garza has been named to coach the Bengals boys track and field team for the upcoming 2019 season, pending board approval.
"The Helena School District is pleased to announce that Mr. Manny Garza has been selected as the new head boys track coach for Helena High," activities director Tim McMahon wrote in an email. "Mr. Garza was selected from an outstanding pool of candidates to replace Tony Arntson who resigned the position last spring."
Garza has been employed in the activities department in multiple roles at Helena High, beginning in the fall of 1994 when he was hired to serve as the athletic trainer.
"Mr. Garza later moved into the coaching ranks, where he has served as an assistant football coach for eleven years and has spent ten years as an assistant (sprints, relays) track coach," McMahon wrote.
Both of those programs were directed by Arntson, who is now an assistant football coach with Carroll College.
Garza will continue to serve as a Bengals' assistant (receivers, offensive coordinator) football coach under Scott Evans, in addition to his new duties as the school's track coach.
"My coaching philosophy is to get all the kids to have a positive experience," Garza said. "Track is a non-cut sport, and we want the kids of all ages and skill levels to have the best time possible.
"As for my goals, I want to continue on with what the two guys have done before me. Mr. Gilbert (1973-1997) and Tony (1998-2018) both had tremendous track programs, with large numbers and a lot of success."
Garza graduated from Belt High in 1989, where he was an all-state football player and the Class C track state runner-up in the 800 meters. At Western Montana College, he was an all-Frontier Conference kicker and receiver, and in 1993 he was selected second-team All-American after ranking third among all NAIA receivers. Garza established Western records for season and career receptions, career receiving yards, career points and career PATs, and was inducted in the Bulldogs' Hall of Fame in 2005.
"Manny is a great detail guy and an extremely hard worker," related Arntson, who directed HHS' tracksters for 20 years. "He loves kids and is in this business for the right reasons. Manny has always been a very loyal coach and friend, and he'll do a great job for the Bengals."