Mark Samson begins his 10th year as Head Coach of the Lights and
32st year of coaching High School and College football within
the state of Montana. Coach Samson, a native of Helena MT, is a
1982 graduate of the University of Montana with a
History/Political Science degree.
In his nine seasons at Northern, the Lights have emerged
nationally as a program to be reckoned with. After an initial
2-9 campaign in 2004, Northern ran off 4 straight winning
seasons hi-lighted by a first ever national playoff appearance
in 2006. Along with team recognition, the Lights have had three
Conference MVP’s (Kyle Samson-2006: Justin Moe-2008: Will
Andrews-2011) and a large
number of All-Conference and All-American selections both
athletically and academically. Samson himself was awarded as
Frontier Conference Coach of the Year in 2006 as well as NAIA
Region 9 Coach of the Year that same year.
Mark Samson’s coaching career began in 1982 as an assistant
at Helena High School under Mike Kramer. In 1984, Samson was
hired at Broadwater Co. High School where he served as Defensive
Coordinator for the Bulldogs under former Northern quarterback
Chuck Harvey for four seasons. The Bulldogs were conference
champs in 1985 and during his four years at Townsend, the
Bulldogs were a combined 20-14.
Samson’s first head coaching job was at Missoula Loyola HS
(1987-89), and after a 1-7 campaign in 1986, the Rams were 5-3
and 6-2 the following two seasons. Samson also served as Head
Track Coach at Loyola for 1988-89.
In the Spring of 1990, Samson accepted an assistant position
with National powerhouse Carroll College under the direction of
Hall of fame Coach Bob Petrino. In his first two seasons, Samson
served as wide receiver’s coach and in charge of Special Teams.
In the spring of 1992, Samson was elevated to Offensive
Coordinator/QB’s Coach. Carroll was Frontier Champions in 1990
and 1993 and also advanced to the NAIA national playoffs in
1996. In his seven seasons at Carroll, the Saints had an overall
record of 41-24.
In the Spring of 1997, Samson was hired as Head Football
Coach for Helena Capital High School. For seven seasons, the
Bruins were one of the best programs in the entire state and
achieved state championships in 1999, 2000, and 2002. The 2002
squad was the first HS team in Montana history to achieve a
record of 13-0.The Bruins also set a then state AA record of 26
straight wins. Overall, Samson’s teams were 67-12 and had 6
state playoff appearances.
Mark has been married for 31 years to Kellie (Petrino)
Samson. Kellie is a first grade teacher in Havre. Mark and
Kellie have three children: Kyle, who serves as Offensive
Coordinator for his father, and is married to Brooke Schwann;
Marc, who is a Physical Therapist here in Havre and married to Katie Polette; and Tricia, who is
a Junior High teacher in Havre. The Samson’s are also proud
grandparents to Troy & Jordyn(Kyle and Brooke)Kayley, Cooper
(Marc and Katie).
Along with his coaching duties, Mark is serving as
Assistant Director of Athletics at Northern.
Kyle is a native of Helena, MT. He graduated from Capital
High School in 2003, where he was the starting quarterback for
two years earning all state honors as both a junior and senior.
Samson was a member of the 2002 State Championship team and was
named the AA Offensive MVP as well as the Gatorade player of the
year for the State of Montana. After graduation, Kyle
attended the University of Montana on a football scholarship.
He played quarterback for the Grizzlies as a true freshman.
Kyle then transferred to MSU-Northern in the Spring of 2004
after his dad was named the new head football coach.
Kyle was Northern’s
starting quarterback from 2004 -2006
as well as a three year captain. Kyle was a three time all
conference selection (2004-2006) and two time All American
selection (2005, 2006). He was also named the Frontier
Conference's Most Valuable Player in 2006.
This will be
Kyle’s 7th year on staff for the Lights and will be his 6th year
as the offensive coordinator.Under the direction of Coach Samson the Lights offense
finished 1st in the conference in 2011 in total
offense and 4th in the nation, averaging 455 yds per
game.Last year in
2012, the Lights offense finished 2nd in the
conference and 9th in the nation in total offense
averaging 448 yds a game.In 2011, Samson’s Offense set 16 school records as a unit
and also broke 12 individual records.In 2012 the Lights offense broke 10 of those school
records as a unit and also set 17 new individual records!Junior QB Derek Lear was named All-conference for the 2nd
straight year and broke 9 individual records as well as breaking
the national record for total offense in one game with 605 yds
against Montana Western.Under the direction of Coach Samson Derek was also
finished #3 in the nation in total offense averaging 315 yds per
game. Senior RB Stephen Silva was also named all-conference for
the 2nd straight year and broke 5 individual records.Senior WR Brandon O’Brien was named 1st team
all-conference and broke 3 individual receiving records with the
highlight being most TD receptions in a year with 12.The lights offense returns 5 starters for 2013 and looks
to once again be one of the top offenses in the conference and
all of the NAIA.
Kyle earned his bachelors degree in Health/Physical Education
from Northern in 2007. Kyle has been married for 5
years to the former Brooke Schwan of Havre.She is a 2nd grade teacher at Lincoln Mckinley
Brooke have 2 children.Their son Troy Thomas turned 3 years old on April 11th
and their daughter Jordyn Whitney turned 1 years old on April 26th.
Jake Eldridge (6th Year)
Strength and Conditioning Office: (406) 265-3764 firstname.lastname@example.org
This will be Jake’s sixth season on staff with the Lights as
he enters his fourth season as the Defensive Coordinator.
This also begins Jakes his sixth year as head of the Lights Strength and
Jake, a Helena native, prepped at Helena Capital High School
where, under Head Coach Mark Samson, won a State Championship in
2000. Jake was a two sport standout in both track and football
earning All-State and All-Conference honors throughout his
career. Eldridge's athletic success earned him dual track and
football scholarships to the University of Mary upon graduation.
Jake transferred to MSU-Northern when Coach Samson began in
2004. Jake was a four year starter for the Lights as well as a
four year captain at defensive back where he garnered many All
Conference and Academic honors. A knee injury limited Jake in
his senior season, but he was able to finish out his career on
the offensive side of the ball as a slot receiver in 2007.
Wide Receivers (15th year) (406) 265-3750
Scott will begin his fifteenth year as receivers coach for
the Lights. During his 14 years at Northern Scott has
coached 11 All-Conference players as well as coaching Andy Smith
to All-American status. In the past 3 seasons, coach Leeds
has had 3 consecutive All-conference receivers that have broken
6 school receiving records and have lead or been in the top 5
for statistical categories in the Frontier Conference.
Lights return two starting receivers from 2012 and look to have
another strong receiving core in 2013.
A native of Havre Montana, Scott attended Carroll College in
Helena Montana. Coach Leeds was a member of Bob Petrino’s
Saints football team from 1991 – 1994, earning a Frontier
Conference championship in 1993. Scott was an All-Conference
selection in 1994 leading the Frontier Conference in
receiving yardage. Scott earned his degree in business
finance from Carroll College in 1995. Scott and his wife
Kimberly have 5 children Brittany, Kayley, Justin, Taylor
and Cael. Scott is employed by Triangle Telephone.
Linebackers (6th Year)
Kennedy is beginning his 6th
season as Linebacker Coach for the Lights. A 2004 graduate
of Fort Benton H.S., Kennedy was an All-State performer both as
center and linebacker for the Longhorns. Kennedy
participated in the Class B All-Star Game, Mon-Dak All-Star
Game, and East-West All-Star Game after graduation.
Kennedy joined the Lights in 2004 and
started for the Lights from 2005-2007. Kennedy was an
All-Conference performer for the Lights as he manned the all
important “Mike” Linebacker position.
Kennedy has coached multiple Linebackers
who have received 1st and 2nd Team
All-Conference honors, including a four year 1st or 2nd
Team All-Conference award winner.
Kennedy graduated from
MSU-Northern in the Spring of 2009 with a degree in Health
Darold DeBolt is a native of Great Falls, Montana. He
played football at CMR where he was a starter at Middle
Linebacker his Junior and Senior years. While under
the tutelage of CMR’s head coach Jack Johnson, Darold earned 1st
Team All-State honors, 1st Team All-Conference, All American
Honorable Mention as well as being selected to the Mon Dak All
Star Game. After graduation, DeBolt went to college for 3
years on a baseball scholarship before he accepted a scholarship
at Carroll College in Helena, Montana and returned to his "first
love" of football. DeBolt played Middle Linebacker and Defensive
End, and in 2002, was part of the first National Championship
team in school history.
Upon completing his History degree at Carroll College, Darold
returned to his alma mater CMR, coaching Linebackers and
Defensive Line for the sophomore football team. 7 years later,
Darold moved to Havre for the opportunity to coach at the
college level and pursue a Secondary Education Degree in Social
Darold enters his third season as MSU Northern’s Defensive Line
Coach. He has had the privilege of coaching Defensive End
Will Andrews (2011, 1st Team All-Conference honors and Defensive
MVP of the Frontier Conference) and Nose Guard Mike Carbone
(2012, Second Team All Conference).
In his personal life, Darold was just recently married to his
high school sweetheart, Tiffany (Van Heel). In their downtime,
they love traveling and spending time with their boxer, Tango.
Ron LaTray (3rd year)
Ron LaTray is a 1995 Chinook High graduate.
After attending Crown College Ron moved to Whitefish where he
founded the Glacier Knights Semi-Pro Football team, which
competed in the Rocky Mountain Football League. While with the
Knights, Ron earned an All League Honorable Mention Selection as
a Free Safety. He also coached the 2005 RMFL Defensive MVP, as
well as seven All League Players, and guided six players to
various All Star games. In 2007 Ron took over as Head Football
Coach for the Harlem Wildcats and had 31 players as 1st or 2nd
Team All Conference selections, as well as Three All State
selections, and Three Shrine game selections (2008 Shrine Game
MVP). In 2011 Ron joined the MSU-Northern Football Coaching
staff as the Tight Ends/Assistant Offensive Line Coach. In his
first year out, Ron guided Brian Torgerson to a 1st Team All
Conference selection as a Tight End and Assisted Head Coach Mark
Samson with a 1st Team All Conference Offensive Lineman and All
American selection Matt Cervenka. Ron also help guide Jorge
Magana and Brock Hyder to 2nd Team All Conference Offensive Line
selections. In 2012 Ron moved to Running Backs and helped
Stephen Silva earn a 2nd Team All Conference selection at
Running Back. Ron is again on the move but this time to the
Defensive side of the ball where he will coach the Defensive
Backs for the Lights in 2013.
Ron's wife Brandy is the owner of
Venus Salon and Spa in Havre. The couple have two children
Teigan (4) and Tavin (2) who will be cheering on the Lights from
the stands all season.
Jorge Magana (2nd year)
Jorge begins his second year as an assistant
coach with MSU-Northern after completing a steller career as a
2-time All-Conference center for Lights in 2010-11. Jorge was a
three sport athlete at Freedom High School in Oakley, CA. As a
senior, Jorge earned All-Conference honors in the very tough
Upon completion of high school, Jorge
enrolled at Los Medanos (CA) Junior College where he was a 2
year starter and also earned All-Conference. Jorge will earn his
degree in Secondary Education/HPE this upcoming Spring. Jorge’s
main duties for the Lights will be assisting with the Offensive
Line and organizing weekly scout team practices.