Boys basketball: Jaguars’ head coach Montbriand retires
Few basketball coaches get to retire with as big a bang as Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa’s Dave Montbriand.
Montbriand, the Jaguars’ head boys coach for 21 years, announced his retirement Friday, just weeks after his team won their second Class A state championship in three years.
“I was tempted to come back,” said the 53-year-old Montbriand. “But this feels like the right thing to do.”
Montbriand’s resignation was accepted by BBE Athletic Director Rick Gossen and the district school board is expected to accept it at its next meeting.
Montbriand steps down after compiling a 386-173 record and three state tournament appearances.
The Jags finished second in Class A in 2011 with a 32-1 record, then won the program’s first championship with a 33-0 mark in 2012. They were 25-2 in 2013 and this year posted a 31-1 record and defeated Rushford-Peterson 52-40 in the title game on March 15.
The Jaguars were 121-4 over the last four seasons and are a win away from the state record of 72 consecutive home victories.
But Montbriand said the time away from family and teaching commitments made the decision sound, estimating that he put in an additional 30 hours coaching each week on top of the 40-plus hours teaching.
“Teaching and coaching gets to be a lot,” he said. “You need a high energy level to do both jobs. There’s a lot of fun and a lot of satisfaction, but it wears on a guy.”
Montbriand, a Bloomington native, started his career at BBE in the 1985-86 school year and was B-squad coach for then-head coach Brad Goodwin — one of Montbriand’s assistants now — until he took over the varsity program in 1990.
He stepped away from the varsity job to coach girls B-squad for three seasons when his daughter, Missy, was playing.
Montbriand returned to the boys varsity in 2009. He was aware the Jaguars had a good crop of players coming up.
“When I came back, that’s what enticed me,” Montbriand said. “I knew we were going to have some good teams, but I never imagined it would be anything like it’s been. These last four years have exceeded expectations.”
Montbriand regretted having to spend so much time away from his family. He and wife Betty will celebrate their 31st anniversary in May. But it helped that he was able to coach his children (Justin is a 2005 graduate, Annie graduated in 2007, Missy graduated in 2008 and Kirby graduated in 2012).
“Those were the times when you didn’t feel like you were completely ditching the family, at least,” he said with a laugh.
Getting to coach his kids is the highlight of his coaching career, he said, along with the three state tournament appearances and winning the Central Minnesota Conference for the first time.
Montbriand, a running enthusiast, said he has a few half-marathons in his post-coaching plans and he expects to continue working as a junior high coach.
“I want to stay involved and help the program,” he said. “I want to keep coaching at some level.”
Small-town athletics is often a cyclical thing and it’s hard to imagine how BBE can immediately replace players like Brian Goodwin, a Mr. Basketball finalist, 2,000-point scorer and second-team All-State selection, Billy Borgerding, a 1,200-point scorer, and James Kuefler, who surpassed 900 career points.
Montbriand said the team returns with solid players but fans shouldn’t have outsized expectations.
“I hope the kids feel the program is strong, overall,” Montbriand said. “But I don’t want them to feel like they have to live up to the last four years. I just hope they do the best they can do.”
Montbriand points to the 15 years it took his teams to win the conference. The Jaguars have since won the CMC six straight years and have won 55 consecutive conference games.
“To stay on top of the mountain for six years, that doesn’t happen very often,” Montbriand said. “I’m thankful for that.”