Havre Daily News - News you can use

Northern mum in Samson case

Football players, parents concerned over lack of info


August 13, 2014

File photo

Montana State University-Northern head football coach Mark Samson speaks to a pair of Lights football players.

After he was placed on administrative leave Monday, the fate of Montana State University head football coach Mark Samson continues to hang in the balance.

A possible announcement on the fate of Samson's position at Northern could come sometime today, but MSU-Northern officials haven't commented, outside of Northern spokesman Jim Potter saying Tuesday: "This is a personnel matter, which is under review at this time. Until this is resolved, we can provide you with no additional information. ... We hope to resolve this situation as quickly as possible."

As rumors continue to swirl, many people feel left in the dark about what is happening with the Northern football program.

Among them is Choteau's Nels DeBruckyer. DeBruckyer, whose son is a sophomore linebacker for the Lights, called the Havre Daily News this morning to voice his concerns about the current situation. DeBruckyer is a Northern Montana College graduate.

"My thoughts are that this is completely wrong," DeBruckyer said. "I feel like they are destroying a man's reputation, as well as the football program. If you want to get rid of a coach, do it after the season. Right now, the program is in turmoil because they're doing this at the start of fall camp, and only two weeks before they have their first game. It's just wrong. The players deserve better."

Indeed, the Lights are set to play their season-opening game Aug. 30 when they travel to Butte to face Montana Tech. Northern has continued to conduct practices as scheduled, with defensive coordinator Jake Eldridge and wide receivers coach Scott Leeds stepping up to run the practices. The Lights are scheduled to practice twice today.

However, as players tried Tuesday morning to seek answers from Chancellor Jim Limbaugh as to why Samson isn't the one leading their practices, the fate of Samson's position with the Lights is certainly overshadowing the start of the 2014 football season.

"If he did something wrong, we shouldn't be kept in the dark," DeBruckyer said. "These players support their coach and deserve to know what's going on."

Samson is in his 11th season with the Lights. He took over for the late Walt Currie in 2004, after Currie led the resurrection of the football program, which had been dormant at Northern for nearly three decades. In just his third season, Samson guided Northern to a historic win over Carroll College, a 9-3 record and MSU-N's only NAIA playoff appearance in school history.

"I love Northern," DeBruckyer said. "And there's 100 kids who are up there right now because of Mark Samson. Those kids could have chose to play football and go to school at a lot of different colleges but they chose Northern and chose Havre because of Mark Samson - because of the coach and man that he is. They came for him, and those players deserve better than this. The entire community and all the supporters of the program deserve better."


Reader Comments

Really writes:

The argument shouldn't be if Mr. Samson isn't the most respected man in Havre or not. He is still a man of great character and integrity. Mark has given kids from all around the nation a chance to earn an education while playing the game they love. Truly a sad day in the Northern community.

oldtimehavreite writes:

As a member of a long time Havre family, to call Samson the most respected person in town is a slap in the face to others who have been here a long time and have earned it. I've known many people here over the years and can attest that he is not and never will be. He has some respect from a small pool of people here, but it is not widespread or universal. Rick, not all of the respectable people in Havre are business owners, either! Plenty of workers in and around support Havre and Northern!

StateBoard writes:

The wheels are coming off at Northern. When you have a rookie Chancellor, SOMEONE needs to be right behind them grooming them through their organizational learning & development process. The Chancellor has shown great inexperience evidenced by the lack of building a team, a community...across the ENTIRE University- but who is the Chancellor's Absent-T Mentor? Is this the type of leadership we want in the Montana University System? The State Board of Education needs to respectfully intervene!!!

Hiliner writes:

I hope that Coach Sampson will be back on the field with his players where he belongs. They are the ones who are definitely getting the short end of the deal by being kept in limbo. Hoping for a quick resolution.

Rick writes:

I think coach sampson is great and very much respected in our community. But to say he is the most respected man in Havre just tells me you have no idea what some community business people do around here. The community service our business leaders put in along with the money they donate to the university. Coach sampson is a man of great intergirity and morals but dont forget about our buisness leaders who donate their weekends and money to make northern a better place.

GrayGramma writes:

I agree with NorthernFan, the chancellor needs to be looked at closely. Why is there such dissention amongst the ranks at Northern? This chancellor does not seem to support the staff and seemingly stuffs things under the proverbial rug. Due to the lack of accountability by the chancellor in Bachmeier's complaint, he will go overboard on any complaint at this time. I hope Northern gets it together soon! This has been a tough 2 years for MSU-N and it could just disinegrate and disappear.

Willy writes:

In my opinion MSU-N hs gone way down since Big Jim arrived on campus. I fully support Coach Samson and yes he is a man of integrity. Maybe not everybody likes him, but most repect him.

Jamie writes:

Can somebody give HOLDONAMINUTE a hug?

holdonaminute writes:

Jeff... please don't lump us up all together as an entire community. If you are not part of MSUN football, you are snubbed, looked down upon and not respected, as a student and then as an assistant coach (of a not football sport). So no, not the entire community supports him.

Northernfan writes:

Maybe someone needs to do some inquiring as to why Northern has gone down hill since this Chancellor took the reigns? Our teaching programs are cut, our nursing programs are cut, our program directors are leaving, we have law suits filed against staff..... when is someone going to look into the leader of the pack? I'm very saddened and concerned regarding what's happeneing to our beloved school.

Jeff writes:

This breaks the heart of every person living in Havre. The community knows that Mark Samson is arguably the most respected leader in all of Havre. He and his family have dedicated their lives to Northern Players, Northern Coaches, and Northern Football for many years. Every person in Havre knows that Mark Samson is a trustworthy man. MSUN teachers & staff admire Mark Samson, and view him as a man of integrity. Mark Samson and his family are unique, and the entire community in Havre supports him.


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