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Scott Kirchmann, with former connections to the Big Sky Conference, has been hired as the director of the University of Montana's Athletic Performance Center.

Kirchmann, most recently the strength and conditioning coordinator at Belmont University in Tennessee, replaces Jared Nessland, who took a similar position at Southern Illinois in January.

Bo Berglund, who will remain on staff as Kirchmann's assistant, has been handling the director's job on an interim basis.

At Belmont, Kirchmann oversaw four assistants and the training of BU's 17 athletic teams. His primary strength and conditioning responsibility was the men's and women's basketball teams.

The Belmont men's basketball team advanced to the last three NCAA tournaments as the post-season tournament champion of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Belmont, the No. 15 seed, fell to No. 2 seed Duke, 71-70, in a first-round game in March.

Kirchmann began his collegiate strength and conditioning career as an assistant at Idaho State in the late 90s. After working as an assistant at Idaho from 1999 to 2001, Kirchmann moved to Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., where he had a head position from 2001 to 2005.

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Kirchmann worked at Belmont from March 2005 to this spring.

"(A) part of the decision-making process was my wife's past participation in rodeo and our interest in having our kids in rodeo," Kirchmann said. "I always promised her that if we could mesh our two dreams together we'd do it.

"Along with those parts of the puzzle, it's just the success and potential of the programs at Montana that makes this an exciting place for me to be."

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