The Courier 

LaBonty Gets Call To The Hall


The Courier

Coach John LaBonty, left, and his 2014 boys and girls divisional championship teams pose with their trophies. Another great coaching honor is coming LaBonty's way.

Glasgow coaching great John LaBonty and four others will be inducted this summer into the Montana Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Among the others is Paul Barta, who coached five years at GHS in the 1980s.

LaBonty was a head mentor for 28 of his 36 years coaching, the last 34 years at Glasgow. A 36-year MCA member, LaBonty has served in a variety of sports and positions, but it is in track and field and volleyball where he has created a legacy.

Under his guidance, athletes won 20 district championships, 11 divisional championships and nine state trophies – including three third place finishes, two runner-up finishes and four state championships. Two titles were in volleyball, two in girls' track and field.

LaBonty was nominated for MCA coach of the year eight times. He was named coach of the year twice in volleyball and three times in girls track and field. He has served as District and Divisional track manager numerous years.

LaBonty and his wife, Sharon, also enjoyed success as coaches of the GHS speech and drama team.

Meanwhile, HOF inductee Barta has coached 37 years in Montana. Following five years at Medicine Lane and five at Glasgow, coach Barta settled in Columbus, where he has served the last 27 years.

Over the years, Barta's boys and girls basketball teams have won an incredible 757 games, playing in 29 district and 18 divisional championship games while making 27 state appearances.

A 37-year member of the MCA, Barta has been a nine-time nominee for COY and has presented at both the MCA and Wyoming Clinic. He has served as District and Divisional president and managed numerous district and divisional track meets. He has coached the Radisson Senior Classic for 22 years and served as an assistant for the MT-WY All-Star Game.

Also being inducted are Fairfield's Dustin Gordon, Pablo's Rollie Sullivan and Charlo's Bret Thompson.

The five coaches' HOF awards will be presented at an 11:30 a.m. awards ceremony July 30 in the Great Falls High School Auditorium in conjunction with the MCA All-Sports Coaches Clinic.

Family and friends are invited to the awards ceremony. It will be followed by a complimentary luncheon in the cafeteria. Large plaques with pictures of the coaches will be permanently displayed in the MSU Fieldhouse.


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