Former Havre High School great Andy Smith has been named the new HHS head boy’s basketball coach
Chris Peterson Havre Daily News email@example.com
With a bright future in mind, the Havre High boys basketball team went back to its storied past to find new head coach in Class of 1994 graduate Andy Smith. After an extensive search process, Smith was announced as the new HHS head coach Thursday night and he will take over the position vacated by John Barnhorst. “Obviously, it is a great opportunity for me,” Smith said. “I am really excited to coach at a place like Havre that has such high expectations and high standards. There have been a lot of great coaches before me (at HHS) and I just feel privileged to have this opportunity.” Smith starred at Havre High in both football and basketball, which included a key role on the HHS boy’s Class A state basketball championship team in 1994. That Blue Pony team was the last to win a state championship in boys basketball. Smith was an accomplished football player at Havre High, earning all-state honors as a wide receiver and all-conference honors as a defensive back in 1994. His success on the gridiron in Havre continued in college while playing wide receiver for the Montana State University-Northern football team from 2000-2002. Smith was awarded all-conference honors in the Frontier conference in each of his three seasons with the Lights and was named to the NAIA All-American team as a senior. Now, Smith has come back to coach the Ponies after spending three seasons as the head coach of the Rocky Boy boys basketball team. “We’re excited about having Andy Smith come home,” HHS Activities Director Dennis Murphy said. “Andy played for us in 1994 and he is a part of our program. “I know it means a tremendous amount to him to have such close ties to our program and to come back and lead us,” he added. “His enthusiasm and commitment is exciting and the future of the Blue Pony boys basketball team is in great hands.” During his three seasons at the helm in Rocky Boy, Smith compiled a record of 43-25, including a 14-8 record this past season to go along with a third-place finish in the Northern C district. His best season with Rocky Boy came back in the 2003-04 season when he led the Stars to a stellar 23-3 record and captured the District 9C regular season title, the 9C tournament championship and the Northern C divisional championship. The Stars also reached the semifinals at the Class C state tournament that season. “My goal is just to put a team out on the floor that both the school and the town can be proud of because of both the style of play and the effort,” Smith said. “I just know about the high level of commitment in Havre and I am really looking forward to being apart of that.” Smith will take over a team that finished with a 10-12 record this past season, while finishing third at the Central A divisional tournament. The Blue Ponies came within one win of reaching the Class A state tournament for the second straight season. Smith will look to mold a fairly young team, as the Ponies will be without any returning starters next season. However, the stellar play of junior guard Tony Filler and sophomore guard Michael Hickman should give the team some veteran leadership. “I haven’t gotten a chance to watch a lot of Havre basketball the last couple of years,” Smith said. “But I have heard a lot of good things about the players. I am looking forward to meeting them and to get off and running.” George Ferguson contributed to this story.