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PHS appoints new head basketball, soccer coaches

by Lake County Leader
| April 25, 2024 12:00 AM

Polson High School recently announced the appointment of new head coaches in basketball and soccer – each with storied histories in district athletics.

Former head coach Randy Kelley returns to the sidelines after a two-year hiatus, bringing a wealth of experience and a passion for the game; and Heather Howell, an alumna of the Polson Lady Pirates, brings a deep understanding of soccer and a passion for mentoring young athletes to her new role. Both appointments are pending board approval.

Kelley's journey at Polson began in 1995 when he took the helm as the head football coach, dedicating seven years to shaping young athletes both on and off the field. After a brief hiatus, he returned as an assistant football coach before transitioning to lead the girls’ basketball program in 2008. During his tenure, Kelley guided the team to the state tournament and left an indelible mark on the program.

In 2015, Kelley assumed the role of head coach for boys’ basketball, embarking on a remarkable journey of success that saw the Pirates earn third place at the state tournament twice.

"We are thrilled to welcome Randy Kelley back to Polson High School," said Activities Director Sean Dellwo. "His dedication to our student-athletes and his proven track record of success make him the ideal leader for our boys’ basketball program. We look forward to witnessing the positive impact he will undoubtedly have on our team."

Off the court, Kelley's family is deeply rooted in the Polson community. His wife, Tammy, is a respected educator at Polson High School, while his children have pursued successful careers of their own, with his two sons excelling as petroleum engineers and his daughter following in her parents' footsteps as a teacher and coach.

Howell’s journey in soccer began on the fields of Polson High School, where she donned the jersey of the Lady Pirates from 2005 to 2009, in a varsity career marked by skill and dedication. In 2010, fueled by her love for the sport, she transitioned to coaching and has since become a respected figure in the soccer community.

After a brief stint as an assistant coach for the Lady Pirates in 2014, Howell became head coach for Polson FC's U16/U18 girls from 2014-’16. In 2021, she assumed the position of head coach for Polson FC's U12 girls, where she continued to nurture young talent and instill a love for the game.

During her tenure, her teams showcased exceptional talent and determination, clinching six tournament championships and securing five runner-up finishes.

"We are excited to have Heather Howell on the Polson High School coaching staff and be a member of our team," said Dellwo. "Her passion for soccer, coupled with her experience and proven track record of success, make her the perfect fit to lead our girls’ soccer program."

Off the field, Heather is known for her dedication to her players' development, emphasizing not only skill acquisition but also character-building and teamwork.

“Her commitment to fostering a positive and supportive environment aligns seamlessly with the values of Polson High School,” Dellwo said.

    Polson High's new head soccer coach Heather Howell with some members of the Polson FC U-12 Girls' Soccer team that took second at the Tamarack Tournament in Kalispell last fall.