Evan Epperly picked to lead Glacier hoops

Evan Epperly

Daily Inter Lake | April 3, 2024 4:01 PM

Glacier High School announced its pick for the next boys basketball coach Tuesday, and it is former player Evan Epperly, who has been back coaching with the Wolfpack the past two seasons.

Epperly remains the program’s career leader in points, assists and steals — he played varsity for four seasons, from 2010-14 — and spent the past two winters on Mark Harkins’ bench as Glacier’s junior varsity coach. 

Harkins announced his retirement late this past season and Epperly, pending school board approval, will take over.

“Evan brings a solid foundation of coaching with him to this new role,” Glacier athletic director Mark Dennehy said in a statement. “He is Wolfpack through and through and has had amazing mentors that have led him to this position. 

“His mentors include his family of coaches, Mark Harkins, Grady Bennett, and Bobby Hauck. We are excited to have Evan leading our program with poise, discipline, and with integrity. ” 

A guard, Epperly was one of the top basketball players in Class AA as a senior in 2013-14, but he was a standout in football as well and lettered for three years with the Montana Grizzlies football team from 2016-18’.

“I had some Frontier (Conference) basketball offers,  but it was hard to turn down the Griz,” he said Tuesday. “I knew if I got an offer from there, that’s probably where I was going.”

Following his college career Epperly coached college football, first for a year at Carroll College and then back at Montana for two seasons under Hauck.

Then, in 2022, he took a job teaching social studies at Kalispell Middle School, and quickly joined Harkins’ staff as well as becoming one of Grady Bennett’s football assistants. Epperly said Tuesday he always wanted to be a head coach — his late grandfather Bill coached Flathead basketball for 13 seasons, and his dad Jim led Bigfork boys basketball for several — but didn’t necessarily think it would happen at his alma mater.

“It was just a chance to come back to the Flathead Valley,” said Epperly, whose parents still reside in Bigfork. “There was a teaching opening at Kalispell Middle School, and I had been talking to some of the coaches about coming back.

“It just so happened that it was time for Coach Harkins to retire. I’d been the JV coach for a couple years and the timing just worked out.”

Epperly doesn’t envision any big changes in a program he starred for under Harkins.

“Coach Harkins has built something very special the last 17 years,” he said. “I’m definitely not going to try to reinvent a wheel. Playing here and coaching, I’ve learned a lot of great stuff from him and that stuff will certainly remain.”

Epperly said the Wolfpack will start open gyms soon, before the summer schedule begins June 1.