Byrd resigns as girls soccer coach; will stay on with boys

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The Columbia Falls School Board Monday Night accepted the resignation of O’Brien Byrd as head coach of the girls soccer team. He will continue to coach the boys team.

Byrd said he hadn’t planned on coaching the girls team for the long term.

“When the soccer coaching first job opened up, there really weren’t any quality applicants who could take the program in the direction it needed to go. So, I said I would do it for now, but there was no way I could do both programs forever. It would be impossible,” he said.

The school board, however, tabled the hire of Byrd’s replacement, Thomas Clark. The board declined to approve the hire of Clark immediately because no one from the board had actually interviewed him.

The board indicated it would interview Clark in the future, but it did make for an awkward few minutes at the board meeting as a motion was made to approve the hire and then rescinded once it was determined Clark hadn’t been interviewed.

Clark played for Byrd when Byrd coached the Whitefish high school boys team. He was a goalie.

Clark played college ball at Evergreen State and returned to the Flathead a couple of years ago. Clark was an assistant coach under Byrd this season.

“I know it has been his dream to be a head coach someday, and after seeing him coach these boys and girls over they last two years, I am realizing what an exceptional talent he is. He is a natural talent when it comes to working with high school female athletes,” Byrd said. “Coaching both programs was the most challenging thing I have done in my life. The timing of this change is perfect. It should be a very seamless transition.”

Byrd’s record as the girls coach for the past two seasons was 20-5-1.

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