WHITEFISH — Montana Tech’s Matt Stepan was named the Frontier Conference Athletic Director of the Year, Commissioner Kent Paulson announced Thursday.
Stepan’s honor came as Paulson revealed the 2021-22 conference end-of-the-year-awards and nominees for the National NAIA awards. Stepan will be the Frontier’s nominee for the national honor.
The Butte Central graduate has served as AD at Tech since Sept. 1, 2017. Before that, Stepan worked three years as external associate athletic director.
Stepan played defensive end for the Orediggers from 1999-2003 under Coach Bob Green, earning all-conference honors in 2002 and 2003. Stepan led the Frontier Conference in sacks as a junior and senior, was a four-time Frontier Conference Defensive Player of the Week, and was the winner of the prestigious Ed Simonich Award in 2004.
The Athletic Director of the Year Award is given annually to an athletic director for his or her accomplishments in all facets of athletic administration over the course of the previous year.
Russ Richardson of Montana Western was selected the Frontier’s Athletic Trainer of the year in a vote of the conference athletic trainers. Richardson is the conference nominee for NAIA Athletic Trainer of the Year. The award recognizes an NATA Certified Athletic Trainer at an NAIA institution who has distinguished themselves as a model of the profession of athletic training in personal conduct and professional allied health service to athletes.
Alex Semadeni of the University of Providence was selected as the Frontier Conference’s Sports Information Director of the Year in a vote of the conference sports information directors. He is the conference nominee for NAIA Sports Information Director of the Year. This award is based on accomplishments during the previous year in the areas of athletics communication, sports information, promotion and service to the NAIA.
Kevin Engellant of Montana Western is the conference nominee for the NAIA Wally Schwartz Faculty Athletics Representative of the Year award. This illustrious award, initiated in honor of past NAIA Vice President of Legislative Services and NAIA Hall of Famer Wally Schwartz, recognizes a faculty athletics representative who exemplifies the loyalty, enthusiasm and honesty Schwartz showed on behalf of the NAIA.
Rachelle Sayers head women’s basketball coach at Carroll College is the conference nominee for the NAIA Coach of Character award. This annual award is given to a head coach of an NAIA institution who has been outstanding in embracing the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character initiative, using methods of teaching character through sport, and in community leadership through volunteering or service.
Rex Irby, Carroll College football player and men’s golfer, is the conference nominee for the NAIA Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character award. This award was created to honor Dr. LeRoy Walker, a former president of the NAIA and President emeritus of the United States Olympic Committee. It recognizes a current student-athlete with at least a junior academic status who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, campus and community leadership embracing the five core character values of the NAIA Champions of Character initiative, athletic achievement and future ambition.
Kamden Hilborn, Carroll College women’s basketball player, and track and field athlete, is the conference nominee for the NAIA A.O. Duer scholarship award. Named in honor of the NAIA’s former executive secretary who served the association for 26 years, this award has been annually presented since 1967 to a male and female junior student-athlete in any sport who has excelled in scholarship, character, and citizenship.