For 18 years, Mark Beckman was a fair-and-steady hand guiding the Montana High School Association. He retired after a 25-year career at the MHSA and 40 years in education last June.

During his years at the MHSA, Beckman oversaw the addition of high school baseball and girls’ high school wrestling in Montana. Those are two great additions that will open doors for boys and girls for years to come.

He also navigated Montana sports through the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Beckman. That is what I call the 2011 tornado that ripped the roof off the Billings Metra and wreaked havoc on the Montana’s sports schedule.

Through it all, though, we knew Beckman as a Butte guy.

He coached youth basketball in grade school and junior high in butte before becoming head coach at Butte Central. He led the Maroons from 1987 through 1991. His 1991 team went 19-6.

Beckman moved to Anaconda after the 1991 season, and then watched from afar as the Maroons went 20-4 and won the state championship.

After a nice run in the Smelter City, where he coached girls’ basketball and American Legion Baseball, Beckman moved to Helena for a job with the MHSA.

In 2004, he was named a replacement for the great Jim Haugen as the executive director.

Yesterday, I met with Beckman at the 51 Below Speakeasy for a fun conversation.

Listen in as he talks about getting into coaching under Butte greats like Oakie O’Connor, Mike Parent an Tom Lester.

Listen as he talks about the tough decision to leave Butte Central and how he was still very happy to see the Maroons win the year after he left.

Listen as he talks about his career and legacy at the MHSA.