May 23, 2012 — Stability is a trademark of Butte High coaches. A lot of that stability can be tied to Swede Dahlberg who coached a long time in football, basketball and track for the Bulldogs. A case in point tied to Dahlberg is the Butte High boys’ track team. In the last 90 years, dating back to 1923, the Bulldogs have been led by only three head coaches, Swede Dahlberg, George Tarrant and Charlie Merrifield. Dahlberg coached for 44 years and Merrifield is in his 39th year as the head skipper. In girls track, in the past 40 years the Lady Bulldogs have had only two head coaches Pete Schonsberg and Tom Roberts. Two head coaches in girls’ basketball Ted Ackerman and Jeff Arnston have over 20 years combined experience on the bench for the Lady Bulldogs. Butte High have also had three coaches lead their teams for better than 20 years, John Ries in girls’ volleyball, Jim Hope in girls’ softball and Jim Street in boys’ wrestling. Street had the most success of the three winning 15 state titles in 21 years. Since he retired after the 1997 season, the wrestling team has gone through four coaches in the past fifteen years with Street making a cameo appearance in that time frame. Jim Bob Humphrey becomes the eighth year coach in Butte High wrestling since the program was started in 1959 by Sam Jankovich. The other two programs, boys’ basketball and football had been up and down with stability through the years. Swede Dahlberg led the football program for 34 years up through the 1955 season. After Forrest Wilson led the purple-and-white for five years, the Bulldogs went through five head coaches in 15 years. During that period, the Bulldogs had plenty of success winning five state titles and playing in seven championship games. In 1976, the reigns in football were turned over to Jon McElory. He guided the Dogs for the next 18 years winning three state titles along the way. Since McElroy left the sidelines, Butte High had gone through four head football coaches in 20 years with no state titles and no appearances in the state championship game. In boys’ basketball, Swede Dahlberg coached 28 years through 1951. After a three-year stint by Bill Hawke, Bob Rae took over the basketball program in 1955. He led the Bulldogs to a pair of state titles in 1957 and 1958. Rae left the program following the 1966 season. Musical chairs became a theme for Butte High as they went through four head coaches in the next 16 years. Stability was finally restored when Pat Foley took over the program in 1983. He led Butte High over the next twelve years, winning the state championship in 1984, the only state title won in boys’ basketball in the last 55 years. Since Foley’s departure in 1994, Butte High went through five coaches in the past 17 years with only one, John Thatcher lasting more than three years. Thatcher led the Bulldogs to state title appearances twice, in 2004 and 2007. Now, comes Terry Hauser, a young 26-year old former player at UM Western. He is the 23rd head basketball coach and youngest at Butte High since Swede Dahlberg took over the helm at age 25 in 1923.
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