By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Troy Purcell has been named the new head football coach at Havre High School, announced Charlie Klimas, Havre High athletic director.
Purcell has also been hired to teach Social Studies at Havre Middle School.
"He is dedicated to football and his interest in football is amazing," Klimas said.
Purcell had been the head football coach at District 6B Lincoln County High School in Eureka since 1994.
He guided the Western Division Lions to five conference championships, three runner-up finishes, and eight playoff appearances. He never missed a playoff as head coach for the Lions.
"He's obviously a very successful coach," Klimas said. "He's really a motivated person."
Purcell was a 1986 graduate of Helena Capital High School where he played both offense, at fullback, and defense, at inside linebacker.
During his senior season, the Bruins lost a cross-town game, 20-21 in overtime, to Helena High, which still haunts the new coach.
"It still burns," Purcell laughed.
The win knocked the Bruins from playoff contention.
Recruited as a freshman as a running back at Carroll College, Purcell was asked to play outside linebacker for the Fighting Saints.
As a Saint, Purcell was a member of an undefeated football team during his senior year. He was also an All-Conference selection that year.
"I'm ecstatic about the opportunity to coach the Blue Ponies," Purcell said. "I am very excited to have been chosen as the head football coach in Havre. There is a great tradition there and it's a great place to raise kids."
Before teaching and coaching at Eureka, Purcell was the head football coach at Regis High School in Stayton, Ore., where he organized a varsity and junior varsity football program.
Other activities included coaching at the Carroll College football camp and track coach in both Oregon and at Eureka.
"The new life in the program," Purcell said would be the greatest thing he could bring to Havre football. "I'm an energetic person and I'm fired up. I want the kids to be fired up and to expect great things right out of the gate."
Purcell will be in Havre during the afternoon of May 18, in order to meet the players and coaching staff at Havre High.
Purcell hopes to prepare the athletes for a successful season, a season he has broken down goal by goal.
"It's hard to say we'll win a state championship every year, so we must break it down and make it a little more realistic. A person can really attack those goals and get to where we need to be," Purcell said.
Purcell will bring the goal-setting technique that proved successful at Eureka: Win the first three non-conference games, win the conference championship, win in the playoffs.
The Blue Ponies, with the new realigned division, will face Whitefish and Sidney at home during the first two weeks of play, and then travel to Glendive to wrap up the non-conference schedule.
On Sept. 22, the Ponies are slated to play Laurel at home, who has been added to the Central Division.
The Blue Ponies, who failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 1993, finished last season with a 5-3 overall record, winning its last five-straight games.
Purcell and his wife Krista are looking at mid-to-late June to be at Havre.