Mark Samson begins his 9th year as Head Coach of the Lights and
31st 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 eight 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 30 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
in her final year of school at Northern. The Samson’s are also proud
grandparents to Troy & Jordyn(Kyle and Brooke)and Kayley &
(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 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 father was named the new head football coach Kyle was Northern’s starting quarterback from 2004 to 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 6th year on staff for the Lights and will be his 5th 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.
In 2011, Samson's offense set 16 school records as a unit and
also broke 12 individual records.
The Lights Offense had 7 all conference selections
including five 1st teamers and also had two All Americans
(Stephen Silva-RB, Matt Cervenka-OL)
in 2011. Sophomore QB Derek Lear was named a 1st team
all-conference QB under the direction of Coach Samson last fall. The lights Offense returns 8 starters for 2012 and looks
to once again be one of the top offenses in the conference and
all of the NAIA.
Kyle earned his bachelor’s degree in
Health/Physical Education from Northern.
Kyle has been married for 4 years to the former Brooke Schwan of
Havre. She is
a 2nd grade teacher at Lincoln McKinley School. Kyle and Brooke have
2 children. Troy
Thomas turned 2 years old on April 11th and they just
recently had a baby girl, Jordyn Whitney on April 26th.
Jake Eldridge (5th Year)
Strength and Conditioning Office: (406) 265-3764 firstname.lastname@example.org
This will be Jake’s fifth season on staff with the Lights as
he enters his third season as the Defensive Coordinator. This
also begins Jakes fifth 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 (14th year) (406) 265-3750
Scott will begin his fourteenth year as receivers coach for
the Lights. Scott
has coached numerous receivers to both All-American and
All-Conference awards for the Lights in the past ten seasons.
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 (5th Year)
Kennedy is beginning his 5th season as Linebacker Coach for the Lights. A
2004 graduate of Fort Benton HS, Kennedy was a 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
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 graduated with a degree in Health Promotions. Kennedy’s brother,
Khalin, is also a staff member for the Lights.
high school from C M Russell High School were he was selected as
a, 1st team all state Middle Linebacker in 1997. Upon graduating
high school he attended college for a baseball scholarship for
three years before transferring to Carroll College to play
Darold was a part of the 2002 National Championship team at
After graduating from Carroll College with
a History Degree, Darold coached 8 seasons for Jack Johnson at C
M Russell High School. Darold is furthering his education at MSU Northern to
finish up his Teaching degree.
This is coach DeBolt’s second season on
staff. Darold came
to the program in the spring of 2011 and he now takes on a full
time role with the Lights staff, coaching on the defensive line.
Ron LaTray (2nd year)
Ron LaTray is a 1995 Chinook High
School graduate. After attending Crown College, Ron moved to
Whitefish and founded the Glacier Knights Semi-Professional
Football Team. In 2007, Ron took over as Head Football Coach in
Harlem at which time Ron and his wife Brandy moved back to
Havre. After a four year stay as Head Coach in Harlem, Ron
comes to Northern for his second year as the Tight End/ Asst.
Offensive Line Coach. In 2009 Ron and Brandy were blessed with
their daughter, Teigan and in 2011 again had a blessing with
their son, Tavin.
Jorge Magana (1st year)
Jorge begins his first 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.