Mark Beckman retiring as director of MHSA

Butte native will move home to Mining City

HELENA — A change is coming to the Montana High School Association.

Executive Director Mark Beckman, announced Monday that he is retiring after 35 years in education, the last 25 of which came at the MHSA.

The retirement will be effective June 30.

The Butte native said he thoroughly enjoyed working at the MHSA, where he has worked the last 18 years as the executive director. Before that, he worked seven years as an assistant director.

“It has been a pleasure to work with my fellow staff members, MHSA Executive Board members, MHSA school administrators, high school coaches and MOA officials over these many years,” Beckman said in a statement. “I have many great memories of my time at the MHSA.”

Before joining the MHSA staff, Beckman was a high school teacher, coach and activities director.  He coached boys’ and girls’ basketball at the junior high and high school level at Butte Central and Anaconda High Schools. He also coached Babe Ruth and American Legion baseball for many years.

Beckman served as the head coach of the Butte Central boys’ basketball team for four seasons. He led the Maroons to the Class A State tournament in 1990 and 1991.

“It has been an honor to spend most of my career in education working for the MHSA,” Beckman said. “I wish the best for the MHSA in the future.”

Beckman served a four-year term on the National Federation of High School State Associations (NFHS) Board of Directors, as well as serving as that board’s President during the 2019-2020 school year.  He also served on the first NFHS Network Board of Directors, the NFHS Strategic Planning Committee and the NFHS Citizenship Committee. Beckman will be recognized as the NFHS Service Citation Award winner for Section 8 on June 30 in San Antonio, Texas.

When hired as the Executive Director, Beckman’s vision was to continue the successes of the organization and examine the future needs of the MHSA and its member schools and student activity participants, emphasizing the value of education-based activities. Among his notable accomplishments, he led the Association through the COVID pandemic and with the assistance of his staff, the executive board and member schools, the Association experienced a successful outcome for MHSA activities during these difficult times.

Beckman created and personally conducted Cultural Diversity workshops throughout the state to educate and minimize conflicts regarding diversity issues. He also proposed, organized, and managed the first all class state volleyball tournament which has become a premier event for the Association.

Montana was also one of the first states to secure concussion insurance for all its student athletes (no deductible and up to $25,000 per case).  He created a Social Media position to enhance MHSA’s social media presence. He also established educational opportunities for MHSA administrators including the mandatory MHSA sportsmanship clinic and new administrators’ clinic.  Another highlight during his tenure is the addition of girls’ wrestling and boys’ baseball.

Under his leadership, MHSA finances have grown and are stable. He created a technology and legal reserve and in his 18 years as Executive Director he asked for only one dues increase from the member schools and the majority of that increase went to establish those reserves. While serving on the NFHS Network Board he was instrumental in having the MHSA join the Network (exclusive for post season) which has become a funding source for member schools and will be a major funding source for the Association for years to come. He also has maintained and established existing and new corporate partners for the MHSA.

Beckman has overseen many improvements to technology used by the MHSA office, MOA officials, and MHSA member schools by partnering with the NFHS COS and Dragonfly.  This is a work in progress.  Beckman has also served as MOA Commissioner for 18 years assisting the MOA Regional Director Board with regulating, administering, and supporting high school officials.

Beckman has also taken the lead in dealing with multiple legislative issues, including the addition of home school and nonpublic school participants and he assisted MHSA legal counsel with court cases filed against the Association.

“I would like to thank the current MHSA Board and all the Board members I have served with over the past 25 years,” Beckman said. “I also want to thank my staff over the last 18 years for their dedicated and determined work on behalf of MHSA member schools and MOA officials.  These committed employees assure that each area of their responsibilities is well taken care of so that coaches, players, fans and officials have the best possible experiences during regular season and post season sporting events and during fine art activities.

“Also, I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the support of my family, friends and all the people I worked with and for at Butte Central and Anaconda.  And a special shout out to all my colleagues I have worked with from MHSA member schools over the years including administrators, coaches and officials. I value those relationships and friendships.”

Beckman is planning to retire to the Mining City.

“Education-based activities are so important in our society, and I know the MHSA Executive Board, MHSA Staff, and all involved with those activities in MHSA schools will do their best to assure our student activity participants will continue to succeed,” Beckman said.