Montana Tech Director of Athletics Matt Stepan announced the hiring of Kyle Samson to lead the Oredigger football team on January 21, 2020. Samson served as the Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach last season after joining the team in January of 2019.
Montana Tech had one of the top rushing attacks in the Frontier Conference last season. Despite losing All-American running back Jed Fike early in the season, the Orediggers averaged 190.5 yards a game on the ground and reached the end zone 25 times. Both were huge increases as the Orediggers averaged 170 yards and had only 12 rushing touchdowns in 2018.
The Orediggers showed tremendous control of the ball and the offense was one of the most efficient in the league this past season. Tech had a league-low five interceptions while leading the league in completion percentage and ranked second in Pass Efficiency. Sophomore wide receiver Trevor Hoffman had a career year and became just the fourth Oredigger in school history to break 1,000 yards receiving. True freshman running back Blake Counts averaged 4.5 yards a carry finishing with 839 total yards while only playing fulltime part of the season.
Samson led the Flathead High School football program for five seasons prior to arriving in the Mining City. The Braves had one of the top offenses in the state reaching the AA state title game in 2018 for the first time since 2000. Flathead also made the playoffs three out of his five seasons while in Kalispell. Samson called the offense and coached the quarterbacks at Flathead.
Samson served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for seven seasons at Montana State Northern 2007-14. The Lights offense was ranked in the top 10 nationally from 2011-13.
A player first, Samson was an all-state quarterback at Helena Capital High School. A three-time All-Conference selection for Montana State Northern, Samson was the 2006 Frontier Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Samson finished his career with 5,303 yards passing and 1,591 yards on the ground. He had a 62.1 career completion percentage while scoring 45 total touchdowns.
Samson lives in Butte with his wife Brooke and there three children: Troy (9), Jordyn (7), and Beau (3).
Doug Schleeman enters his 24th year on the Oredigger coaching staff and was appointed Assistant Head Coach after being named the NAIA Assistant Coach of the Year following the 2010 campaign.
During his career at Montana Tech, Schleeman has been part of seven conference championship teams. He has coached 52 all-conference selections including the all-time career reception, touchdown, and yardage record holders.
Schleeman played collegiately at Peru State College in Nebraska, where he was a four-year letterman and an All-Conference performer at center. He helped lead his team to the school's first-ever playoff appearance in his senior season. Following his playing career, Schleeman assisted in coaching Peru's offensive line before making his first move to Montana. From 1990-1992, he was the head coach at Shields Valley High School in Clyde Park, MT. In his three years at the helm, the Rebels made two State playoff appearances, and Schleeman served on the Class C All-Star game coaching staff both years.
Following his tenure at Shields, Schleeman returned to the college ranks and to his home state of Nebraska as an assistant at Chadron State College for two years, where he earned his Master's degree in secondary education. He then took over as head coach at Kemmerer High School in Kemmerer, WY, where he coached until 1996 when he joined the staff at Tech.
Coach Schleeman is a native of Culbertson, NE, and resides in Butte with his wife, Tara - who is part of the Occupational Safety and Health faculty - and their three children: Kenna, Kade, and Koda. Doug also has two older children; Nicole and Drew.
Nick Brautigam enters his second season with the Orediggers after joining the staff in March of 2019 as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. It is his seventh season of his coaching career.
Brautigam arrived in Butte after one year as an assistant at NCAA Division II Loras College (Iowa). Brautigam coached special teams and the secondary for the Duhawks last season.
The Dubuque, Iowa native graduated from Cornell College in 2013 with degrees in Kinesiology and Exercise Management. While at Cornell, Brautigam competed for the Rams for three seasons. During his time there, he was a three-time All-Conference player, a finalist for Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and ranked second in school history for forced fumbles.
In 2014, Brautigam transitioned to Northern Illinois University where he received his Masters Degree in Science and Education. While at NIU, he began his coaching career as an intern, working mostly with defense and special teams. By 2015, Brautigam earned a graduate assistant position at NIU, working specifically with defensive backs and linebackers.
In 2017, Brautigam landed a defensive assistant position at Western Illinois University. During his one-year stint with the Fighting Leathernecks, he was a part of a FCS playoff berth with an overall record of 8-4.
Throughout his career, Brautigam has coached one All-American, five All-Conference selections and helped lead his programs to two conference championships and a FCS playoff berth.
Brautigam lives in Butte with his wife Kylea and Nicholas Jr.
Travis Dean joined the Oredigger staff in February 2020 as the offensive coordinator and running backs coach.
Dean played quarterback for Head Coach Kyle Samson when he was the Offensive Coordinator at MSU-Northern. Dean was part of back-to-back state championships at Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz., and was the quarterback for MSU-Northern’s explosive offense that ranked in the top of the NAIA in Total Yards and Completion Percentage.
Dean started his coaching career as the Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach for Mark Samson at Havre High School in 2015 where he coached the Gatorade Player of the Year Dane Warp. After Havre High, Dean was the Quarterbacks and Running Backs Coach at Flathead High School under Kyle Samson. The Braves boasted the top offense in the AA and made it to the State Championship game in 2018. Dean coached current Oredigger running back Blake Counts when he set the Montana high school single season rushing record as a senior.
Travis and his wife Tricia join the Oredigger family with their two-year old son Bentley.
Khalin Anderson joined the Oredigger staff in February 2020 to coach the defensive backs.
Anderson has spent the last six seasons coaching football for Sentinel High School in Missoula. From 2014-2019 he was the Defensive Backs Coach and spent the last two seasons as Defensive Coordinator. The Spartans reached the AA playoffs multiple times and made it the state semi-finals twice. He also spent the last six seasons as the horizontal jumps coach for Spartans Track and Field team. Sentinel won two girls state titles and one boy’s state championship, along with multiple individual state champions during Anderson’s time.
Anderson spent the 2009-2013 football seasons at his alma mater MSU-Northern coaching defensive backs and assisting with the strength program. Before he became a coach, Anderson played cornerback for the Lights from 2005-2009. He received three all-conference awards and one All-American honor. Khalin played and coached alongside Samson at MSU-Northern.
Khalin and his wife Anni join the Oredigger family with their one-year old daughter Everly.
Dan Thatcher returns to his hometown to coach the offensive line after spending eight years on the football staff at Bozeman High School.
Thatcher has spent the last four years as the Offensive Line Coach for the Bozeman Hawks working under Coach Levi Wesche. Over the past four seasons, the Bozeman High offense ranked in the top-five in scoring and total offense three times and made the playoffs each year. The Hawks won the 2019 Montana AA State Championship this past fall after averaging 235 rushing yards per game and 6.4 yards per carry.
Thatcher was an all-conference selection on the offensive line for Butte Central High School as a junior and all-state as a senior. Thatcher was selected to play in both the Knights of Columbus Badlands Bowl and the Montana East-West Shrine Game.