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Monica Grimsrud

Former Montana State Billings volleyball and basketball standout Monica Grimsrud has been hired as the new head volleyball coach for Billings West.

CASEY PAGE, Gazette Staff

BILLINGS -- Monica Grimsrud, who finished last season as the interim volleyball coach for Billings West, has been named the program’s head coach.

The announcement was made Wednesday by Billings Public Schools.

"I'm excited to see what I can bring to the program," Grimsrud said. "I know it's a great group of girls. I coached many of them with the junior varsity."

Grimsrud, who was in her second season as West’s junior varsity coach, took over the Golden Bears with two games left in the regular season after the resignation of Kelly Deming.

The Bears were 16-10 at the time, and they won their next three matches ahead of the Class AA state tournament, including a playoff win over Butte. West went 1-2 at state, winning their first tournament match since 2012, ending a streak of eight consecutive losses at the tournament.

"One thing I liked is the way we finished," said Grimsrud. "Beating Kalispell Glacier at the state tournament ... I would like to continue off of that."

West was 4-2 with Grimsrud as interim coach.

"I'm fairly fresh out of the game, I can bring a different perspective," Grimsrud added. "During a match, I would see something and offer what I saw. Now I have all the other things that go with being the head coach." 

Grimsrud, who is a kindergarten teacher at McKinley Elementary School, is a graduate of Helena High School, where she helped the Bengals to the 2010 state championship, beating of all teams, Billings West.

She was also a two-sport athlete for Montana State Billings, playing both volleyball and basketball. An all-conference volleyball player, Grimsrud finished her career third all-time for kills (1,391) for Yellowjacket volleyball. She also ranks second for career attempts and ninth for sets played.

Grimsrud, whose father Vern was a long-time coach in Townsend, gave credit to her parents and former coaches for helping her get the head coaching position.

"I've been in contact with Kevin Woodin a lot through the whole process," said Grimsrud of the Montana State Billings women's basketball coach and former Billings West girls basketball coach. "He's helped me a lot, giving me advice."

Grimsrud wasn't sure about the rest of her staff. "It's a really good group of assistant coaches. It's up to them if they want to stay," she said.

Grimsrud she will will start planning open gyms, camps and the summer schedule for the program.

                                                     — Joe Kusek contributed to this story