By Tiffany L. Rehbein
After back-to-back state championships, a runner-up state trophy, and eight successful years, Bill Huebsch is calling it quits.
Huebsch announced Monday that he is resigning as the Havre High volleyball coach.
"The No. 1 reason is the amount of time that I am able to spend with my family," Huebsch said. "Volleyball is a year-round sport now if you want to have a competitive and successful program."
Huebsch and his wife, Tracy, have a girl, Madison, 2 1/2 years, and are expecting a second child in June.
Competitive and successful might be an understatement for the Blue Pony volleyball program a team that recently placed second at the State Class A tournament.
And Huebsch will leave the program that has gone 28-2 in conference play during the past three years and has captured back-to-back state trophies.
"The hardest part will be leaving the girls," Huebsch said. "I think that we established ourselves as one of the better programs in the state and we accomplished a lot of really remarkable things. But, all the volleyball records and trophies and things aside, the hardest part is leaving the girls."
Huebsch has been the head volleyball coach since 1995. He was the junior varsity coach for the three years previous to accepting the head position, where he finished with a record of 49-11.
During his first year at the helm, 1995-96, Huebsch led the Blue Ponies to a first-place divisional trophy and a third-place state finish.
He has accumulated a 45-5 conference record during his tenure. Huebsch has qualified for the state tournament every year during that time and finished only once without a state trophy (1997), when the Blue Ponies placed fourth at state.
Under his command, the Blue Ponies were four-time conference champions, capturing a trophy every year, and two-time divisional champions.
He captured back-to-back state trophies (1998, 1999) and a runner-up state trophy (2000).
Assistant coaches Heather Smith and Lacy Whitright have both expressed interest in the position.
"I think they would do a great job," Huebsch said.
Smith, the athletic director at Havre Central, has been the junior varsity coach for four years. She has been involved in both state championship wins, including commandeering the team in the championship match at Belgrade in 1999.
Whitright, a former MSU-Northern Skylight volleyball standout, completed her first year as the freshman coach.
"It's a great program to come in to," Whitright said. "Following in Bill's footsteps would be a tough job, but I love a good challenge. I learned a great deal after playing for so long, and I think there is always learning to do. I couldn't have chosen a better coach to work under and learn the game."
Whitright is in the Skylights' record books with the most individual digs in a season (633, 1994). She is also tied in the record books with most aces in a single match (5, 1994).
"I got to know Lacy a lot better this year, and I was really lucky to have somebody with her experience and her knowledge of the game involved with the freshman program," Huebsch said. "I would like to see one or both of them do it. They know the routine and I think it would help immensely for some consistency to remain there."
Huebsch is currently the warranty administrator at Northstar Dodge.