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Frenchtown Broncs.jpg

Frenchtown has hired Mark Quinn as its next boys' basketball coach, putting to end a tumultuous patch for the Broncs program.

After being put on administrative leave in April, former teacher and coach Michael Botsford resigned from both positions. Quinn, the JV coach at Frenchtown the past two seasons, was tabbed to step in and lead the varsity program in late June.

"He's a great guy, works hard and he's real knowledgeable about basketball," Frenchtown activities director Mark McMurray said. "It just made sense from what we had.

"We looked around and had some teaching positions open, but couldn't find anybody who was right for the job," continued McMurray, who added that the coaching position drew lots of interest, but only five or six applications.

Quinn grew up a basketball player in Butte, playing for the Butte High Bulldogs before attending Montana Tech for hoops. He earned team MVP honors as a senior before graduating in 1996 with a bachelor's of science degree in engineering.

His basketball life took a long hiatus, though, as Quinn built a a private construction business and settled in Frenchtown. In 2012 Missoula Big Sky boys' basketball coach Bryan Ferriter, another Butte native, convinced his old friend to join the Eagles' staff and coach the sophomore team.

"I never anticipated getting into (coaching)," Quinn said. "I figured the opportunity would never come up once I quit playing in college and got into my engineering career. There's not a lot of avenues that open up."

But another did the next year, this time at Frenchtown in 2013 and Quinn joined Botsford's staff as JV coach. When the varsity job opened up this spring and the administration approached him about his interest, Quinn was a bit surprised.

This will be his first head coaching experience.

"It's just quickly escalated," said Quinn, whose wife, Lori, teaches math at Frenchtown High. "I took a lot of time to think, see how much time it was gonna take. Now I'm excited about it."

Quinn's involvement in the offseason began long before his hire, holding open gyms with returning players and running the Broncs' summer tournament, the 834 Hoops Shootout, which was held last week.

"Being comfortable with me, (the transition) should go a lot smoother," Quinn said of his standing relationship with the players. "A lot of kids, their heads were up in the air about (the coaching change), wondering what was gonna happen."

***

Frenchtown placed Botsford on two weeks' leave April 10 amid an "investigation by the district for misconduct," Frenchtown Superintendent Randy Cline wrote via email.

On April 23 Botsford entered a one-sentence letter of resignation, which the district accepted the following day effective immediately. Botsford's letter cited "health reasons" for the resignation of both his teaching and coaching positions.

Cline, who declined to comment on the specifics of the investigation, suggested there was more to the resignation, though.

"The district substantiated the allegations of misconduct and Mr. Botsford resigned," Cline wrote.

Botsford could not be reached for comment.

Botsford coached the Broncs for five seasons, compiling a 40-66 record with an 18-24 mark in league play in the Northwestern A and Southwestern A. Frenchtown made one state tournament appearance in that time, taking the NWA's No. 2 seed to state in 2013.

Frenchtown's best season came in 2013-14 when it finished 13-8 with a 6-2 mark in NWA play, though the Broncs were beaten to a state bid by Polson in the Northwestern A tournament.

Botsford taught English at Frenchtown High. Along with his basketball coaching duties, he was an assistant with the track and field program.

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