He was a Bozeman icon and a Montana East-West Shrine game legend. He was also a member of the Butte Sports Hall of Fame.
More importantly, Tom LeProwse was a Butte High Diamond B.
LeProwse, one of the most distinguished athletes and coaches in Montana, passed away, according to family members. He was 94.
On Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, LeProwse was inducted as Butte High’s 13th Diamond B on Silver B’s Night. That distinction belongs to only those who have gone 75 years since first lettering for the Bulldogs.
Every year, no matter the weather, LeProwse made the trip from Bozeman to Butte for Silver B’s Night. He also never missed Butte High’s Letterman Banquet, bringing with him is quick smile and booming laugh each time.
LeProwse played in the first Montana East-West Shrine Game in 1947 with his close friend Bob Schulte.
“I was a starting captain, I kicked the football off and them made the first tackle,” LeProwse said before his Diamond B induction in 2019. “That’s the legacy. Then I got married.”
Then LeProwse went on to play for Montana State and a legendary coaching career at Bozeman High School. That is where he gave fellow Butte native Sonny Holland his first coaching job.
“Sonny Holland played on the last team of Swede Dahlberg,” LeProwse said. “Sonny’s first college football coaching job was under me at Bozeman High School. I always tell Sonny, ‘Well, I taught you all you knew.’”
LeProwse and Holland remained close, often playing golf together.
Bozeman’s invitational wrestling tournament is named after LeProwse, who was inducted into the Butte Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.
He was usually among the first to buy a ticket to all the Butte Sports Hall of Fame induction banquets that followed. He was also among the first to send a donation to the Hall each selection year.
Of course, he played in the Hall of Fame golf scramble every year, too.
Of all his accomplishments, LeProwse said the Diamond B induction was the best. He said the Silver B’s Organization just meant so much to him.
“To be a member of the Silver B’s has been a real pleasure,” he said in 2019. “They’ve tried it all over the world, and it wasn’t successful. I love Butte because they hang on to tradition. I’m so proud of them for keeping it going. I’m proud of the Silver B’s in Butte. I love to go over there because you guys stay with tradition.
“Butte’s always been my hometown,” LeProwse added. “You grow up in Butte and it stays in you forever.”
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
Butte Sports profiled LeProwse before his Diamond B induction. Click here to read the story.