BILLINGS — Jeff Malby has stepped down as the athletic director of Rocky Mountain College, effective Aug. 31, the school announced in a press release on Friday.
“I am extremely honored to have had the opportunity to serve my alma mater, our student-athletes as well as coaching and administrative staff,” Malby said in the release.
Malby served under the recently deceased Bruce Parker as the associate athletic director from 2015 to 2018, before taking over the AD job on an interim basis upon Parker’s retirement in February of 2018. Malby was later promoted to the full-time position.
It was his second stint as RMC's AD; Malby first served in that role in 1989-90 when he was both athletic director and men’s basketball coach.
“I have spent the majority of my career as a teacher and coach and have decided that I yearn to return to the classroom and basketball floor,” Malby said in the release.
“We have accomplished a lot of positive things at Rocky. Team GPAs have shown improvement; we won back-to-back Frontier Conference Bandy Awards and finished second this year, and outside of a pandemic, our teams have been amazing volunteering throughout the Rocky and Billings-area communities.”
Rocky will launch a comprehensive search for Malby’s replacement immediately, the release stated. In the interim, former Battlin' Bears volleyball coach Laurie Kelly and Bobby Beers, who was previously an AD at RMC, will be assisting with the administrative transition.
“We will never get in the way of allowing someone to pursue their passion but losing Jeff affects us both professionally and personally. He is an exceptional person and contributed to our continued evolution and I thank him on behalf of a grateful college for his service,” the release quoted RMC president Bob Wilmouth.
Malby is a Three Forks native and a 1984 graduate of Rocky. He played basketball for the Battlin' Bears, and later served as a head coach for both men's and women's at the school. Malby's women’s team was the first to qualify for the NAIA national tournament in 1988. He also was an assistant coach for both sports.
At the high school level, Malby served as a coach at Geyser, Ennis, Hardin and Billings Central. While at Central, Malby guided the Rams to Class A girls state championships in 2010 and 2012, and to a runner-up finish in 2013. He returned to RMC in 2014 as an assistant men's basketball coach and later moved into athletic administration.
Malby also was an assistant coach with the Montana State women's basketball team for four years.
As AD at Rocky, Malby helped guide the department's 14 men's and women's varsity sports, and spearheaded the hiring of head football coach Chris Stutzriem and head volleyball coach Yang Yang. He also helped coordinate the NAIA national women’s basketball tournament, which was hosted by RMC and played at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark for three years from 2017-19.
“We're losing a great person and a great leader,” Stutzriem, whose hiring marked his first head coaching job, told The Billings Gazette and 406mtsports.com. “He's the guy that hired me and gave me an opportunity. He's been there for me and shown me great leadership. He stood by me and supported me.
“He bleeds green and gold. It's going to be tough to lose somebody like that. I wish him the best of luck.”
Malby led the department through some serious upheaval during the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the postponement of the 2020 fall sports season and significant delays and cancellations of men's and women's basketball games last winter.
Ultimately, the football and volleyball teams played abbreviated seasons in the spring, with the volleyball team advancing to the field of 24 at the NAIA national tournament in Sioux City, Iowa.
“He did a great job,” Yang said of Malby during a phone call with The Gazette and 406mtsports.com. “He led us in the right direction and was really passionate about his job. He mentored me a lot; his door was always open. He's a big loss.”
Email Greg Rachac at Greg.Rachac@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @gregrachac