Thomas, King calling it quits

Tyler Thomas (31) and brother Torrey (32) started in the Montana Grizzly secondary when this photo was taken in 2005. The boys' father, Terry, second from right, retired Thursday after 26 years as the head coach at Dillon. The boys' mother, Wendie, is second from the left. Photo courtesy of Terry Thomas

Tyler Thomas (31) and brother Torrey (32) started in the Montana Grizzly secondary when this photo was taken in 2005. The boys’ father, Terry, second from right, retired Thursday after 26 years as the head coach at Dillon. The boys’ mother, Wendie, is second from the left. Photo courtesy of Terry Thomas

Quite the day on the “coaches retiring” front. Both Malta’s Scott King and Dillon’s Terry Thomas have decided to step away from their head football-coaching gigs, we learned.

The two coaches are two of the most decorated in state history. You can read my story here on the two. Both coaches lost their respective state championship games this year, while Thomas’s team won it all in 2011.

King, who will continue as the principal and athletic director at Malta, said he told his players Thursday morning.

“From my personal view, it was a tough meeting to have,” King said. “I’d say it caught the players flat-footed. I had a chance to talke to a couple of kids since that meeting and hopefully in time we’ll be able to work thorough that.”

With daughter Sarah living in Bismarck and daughter Jill recently married and living in Albuquerque, King no doubt wants to have some more of his time freed up as his daughters begin families of their own. King said both daughters were able to attend his final game as head coach, a loss in the state B title game to Missoula Loyola.

King said Malta has a number of strong players coming back and he feels like he is leaving the program strong.

“I’ve been surrounded by hundreds of fabulous student-athletes at Malta,” King said. “Within the team aspect, I’ve been able to coach with some outstanding coaches and those are the associations I’ll miss, as well as the associations with high school football coaches across Montana.”

Thomas was a former star athlete in the Electric City and coached the Great Falls Sparkies baseball team while he was in college. He will continue to coach the Beavers’ basketball team.

“I do love both sports,” Thomas said. “We were fortunate that our football program was so successful that it went long and ran into basketball season. The kids and the staff got fired up and we tried to switch gears to the different sport.”

It’s worth noting that Thomas played for current University of Montana head football coach Mick Delaney at GFH. It came full circle when Thomas coached Delaney’s grandsons, Alex and Matt Basile as Dillon Beavers.

Both Thomas and King feel blessed to have been so successful for so long.

“The profession of coaching, I think, is the greatest profession,” King said. “I knew at a young age that’s what I wanted to do and not many people can look back and say that.”

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