Brodie Kelly has just wrapped up his 20th regular season as Head Coach of the Butte Central boys basketball team and will be the guest of honor at a celebration commemorating his achievement this Friday at 6:30pm at Butte's Knights of Columbus Hall.

20 years in anything is a big milestone.  20 years coaching the same program?  In today's sporting world, it's a rarity indeed.  But when your come across a coach like Brodie Kelly, you hold on to him.  And what he's done at Butte Central is not just remarkable, it's damn near unbelievable. Kelly's teams are nearly a mirror-image of what he was as a player.  Tough.  Relentless.  And usually undersized.  But nobody, and I mean nobody, is going to work harder at the job at hand and nobody is going to make more out of the skills that they do have.

Butte Central wins the 2022 State Championship in Missoula. Photo: Tommy O/Townsquare Media
Butte Central wins the 2022 State Championship in Missoula. Photo: Tommy O/Townsquare Media

Kelly won a state championship in 1992 where he was a rebounder and a defensive specialist on a team known more for putting up big offensive numbers.  Although the Maroons could score, it was Kelly's job to make sure the other guys didn't.  And most of the time he shut them down.  And his defensive prowess would continue up on the hill where he was an Oredigger star as well, performing the same duties but usually giving up even more in terms of size for Coach Rick Dessing.  And his teams reflect that.  Although there have been some phenomenal players under Coach Kelly over the past 2 decades, he has taken plenty of teams to the big dance that on paper had no reason being there.  And he has done wonders with all of them.  His first season, the Maroons were a half-court shot of winning it all, losing 52-50 to Columbia Falls at the Butte Civic Center.  And they have managed to get back to State an amazing 18 of his 20 years at the helm.  Here's a look at what his teams have done at the State Tournament:

2005 - Beat Ronan 64-48; Beat Dawson Co. 60-43; Lost 50-52 to Columbia Falls in State Championship Game.  FINISHED 2ND.

2006 - Beat Sidney 50-41; Lost to Columbia Falls 56-68; Beat Havre 55-53OT; Lost to Dawson Co. 39-57 in Consolation.

2007 - Lost to Dillon 46-58; Beat Whitefish 48-41; Lost to Dawson Co. 54-65.

2008 - Beat Ronan 46-43; Beat Billings Central 73-60.  Lost 52-72 to Browning in State Championship Game.  FINISHED 2ND.

2009 - Lost to Billings Central 42-48OT; Beat Whitefish 67-52; Lost to Browning 47-50.

2010 - Beat Corvallis 70-64; Lost to Polson 50-56OT; lost to Columbia Falls 31-54.

2011 - Beat Polson 51-41; Lost to Dillon 42-52; Beat Corvallis 65-60; Beat Laurel 63-56 in Consolation.  FINISHED 3RD.

2012 - did not qualify

2013 - Beat Belgrade 39-34; Lost to Billings Central 41-54; Lost to Columbia Falls 47-64.

2014 - did not qualify

2015 - Beat Columbia Falls 56-51; lost to Laurel 55-58; Lost to Billings Central 42-54.

2016 - Lost to Hardin 42-55; Lost to Laurel 38-61

2017 - Beat Belgrade 48-38; Lost to Dillon 39-53; Lost to Polson 59-62OT.

2018 - Lost to Hardin 51-62; played Frenchtown in loser-out contest; complete tournament results unavailable

2019 - Beat Laurel 35-24; lost to Hardin 73-79; Beat Park 56-51; Beat Hamilton 54-51-2OT in Consolation.  FINISHED 3RD.

2020 - Beat Billings Central 51-48; Beat Browning 66-50.  DECLARED CO-CHAMPION WITH HARDIN DUE TO COVID-19.

2021 - Lost to Billings Central 42-64; Beat Fergus 59-58; Lost to Laurel 44-55.

2022 - Beat Havre 61-49; Beat Dawson Co. 69-53; Beat Fergus 61-58 in Championship. WON STATE CHAMPIONSHIP.

2023 - Beat Columbia Falls 53-44; Lost to Dillon 53-62; Beat Billings Central 70-52.  Beat Frenchtown 66-48 in Consolation.  FINISHED 3RD.

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Gallery Credit: Tommy O, Townsquare Media

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Gallery Credit: Gallery Credit: Tommy O/Townsquare Media