By Doug Hare EBS Staff
Montana State University graduate John Hannahs took the reins as the athletic director for Lone Peak High School last year, in addition to his responsibilities as a second-grade teacher. Explore Big Sky caught up with Hannahs to discuss his vision for the Lone Peak athletic program and how sports have influenced his own upbringing, career path and outlook toward life.
Explore Big Sky: How did athletics impact you when you were in high school?
John Hannahs: Athletics were very valuable to me in high school. I was lucky to be a part of a well-run program and our coaches taught us the importance of putting the team before yourself and playing with heart and hustle. They also instilled a sense of mental toughness that helped make me a more balanced person later in life.
EBS: You still find time to help coach the varsity boys basketball team. How is the team doing this season and what are the goals for the rest of season?
J.H.: I am thrilled to still be able to be involved with this team. We are not off to the start we were expecting, and we are going to have to work very hard to make the improvements we want to make. Luckily, we have a driven head coach [Brian Van Eps] as well as motivated leaders on the team who are willing to do what it takes to get over this hump.
EBS: Who is the best coach that you ever had and why?
J.H.: I still remember my middle school basketball coach as the person who provided the fundamental base to allow me to be successful on the court in high school. He was knowledgeable, organized and very passionate about the game. We could tell how much fun he was having so we all bought in as well.
EBS: Do you have any plans on the horizon for the LPHS athletics department?
J.H.: We are constantly working to find new ways to improve our programs. We have set the bar high for ourselves to develop a stronger culture for athletics, community and school spirit.
EBS: What facilities or resources are the Big Horns’ sports teams most in need of?
J.H.: We are luckier than most with facilities and resources that we have access to. What these kids need most is the community to come down each weekend and show as much support as they can. We are very grateful for our fans, and nothing gets us going like a good home crowd!
EBS: How would you describe your own philosophy of coaching?
J.H.: I try to focus on the big picture, I want every kid who leaves our program to be a productive, successful, and above all, decent member of society. I want to give them the skills to succeed in everything they touch as well as how to overcome failure. There are so many opportunities to relate a game like basketball to life and if I can coach integrity and work ethic on top of basketball skills—maybe win a few games, possibly a district championship in the process—then I’ve done my job.
EBS: What has been your favorite Big Horn athletic event this year and why?
J.H.: Hands down the Spike for the Cure volleyball game to raise breast cancer awareness. It is one of my favorite traditions, you get to see our community as well as the visiting school fans come together and lend their attention and donate to a cause that is bigger than sports.