Conrad Cowboys have new sheriff in former Montana Griz No.37 Ryan Fetherston

Former Montana Grizzly star Ryan Fetherston is the new head football coach at Conrad. / Tribune Photo/Jesse Geleynse

CONRAD — Last spring, Conrad High School principal Ken Larson sat down to interview football coaching candidate Ryan Fetherston.

Nearly an hour later, Larson asked the former University of Montana defensive end his first question.

“I had all the questions ready to go, but I didn’t ask one until 45 minutes into the interview,” Larson said. “He had a big, thick folder of stuff. He was very well-prepared.”

So well-prepared, in fact, that Fetherston already knew some of his prospective players when he arrived in Conrad for the interview.

“He walked down the hallway and was picking out kids by name,” Larson said. “He’d gone on the website and had watched film somewhere.”

Fetherston got the job and earned his first win as the Cowboys’ head coach last Friday with a 35-0 win over visiting Harlem. Being a teacher and a coach was always what Fetherston knew he wanted to do when his career as a Grizzly player wrapped up.

“When I was in high school I went to peer-mentoring class and said, ‘I want to be a teacher/coach,’” said Fetherston, the progeny of C.M. Russell High graduate Tim and Great Falls High grad Chris. “(Helena High head coach) Tony Arntson was a big mentor in my life and a lot of other coaches, I can’t name them all.”

Now Fetherston is getting his own chance to mentor players. Larson’s son Shane, the Cowboys’ sophomore quarterback, said Fetherston’s presence has already changed the culture of the program.

“He definitely brings the intensity and winning attitude that he’s had with the Griz and he just gave it all to us,” said the younger Larson, who, like his father, is a huge UM fan. “We just want to prove that we can come back with a new year and a new season and start this Cowboy stuff up.”

“There’s definitely a new attitude,” added Conrad senior running back Devin VandenBos. “He really pumps everybody up and gets everybody ready to go with his background with Grizzlies, it definitely sets the mood for us.”

The Cowboys were 3-5 a season ago and have defending state champion Fairfield in their district. They continue their quest to return to the playoffs this Friday at home against Roundup.

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