Manhattan Christian Athletic Director Jeff Bellach announced Tuesday the school has filled its boys basketball head coaching vacancy.

Layne Glaus, a graduate of Whitehall and the University of Montana-Western, has been hired as the new coach.

Glaus has spent the past five years as head coach of the boys program at Park County High in Livingston. The Rangers reached the state Class A semifinals in each of the past two years, losing to Hardin this past season to cap a 17-7 campaign.

“We are very excited to have Layne take over the boys program here at Manhattan Christian. He did a great job with the Park High boys program over the past five seasons and changed the culture while gaining valuable experience as their leader,” said Bellach. “Layne is not only passionate and knowledgeable about basketball, but is also understanding of the traditions and foundations that exist here at MCS, and we look forward to him bringing his energy, enthusiasm, and faith to our boys and the program.”

Glaus informed returning players at Park County of his decision Monday.

“Livingston, leaving there, that’s been one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” he said. “It wasn’t necessarily anything going on there. It’s just my wife works over at Manhattan Christian and we have our family ranch about 20 minutes from Manhattan, so that played a big role in it.”

Glaus replaces Bellach, who guided the Eagles to 20 or more wins five times during his seven years as head coach and to six state tournaments. The 2018-19 team, led by his son Caleb, finished unbeaten at 26-0 to win the program’s first state championship since 1984.

Bellach stepped down in April after becoming the school’s athletic director. He’ll continue to coach the girls team — he coached both programs the past two years — which reached the state tournament for the first time in a decade this past season.

“When you talk about Jeff and what he’s done with the program, it’s in a great place and I think he’s done an unbelievable job, and it’ll be nice to have him around as AD,” said Glaus. “I’ll lean on him for a lot of stuff because I feel like he’s doing a great job.”

This past season Christian reached the state Class C semifinals for a fourth consecutive season en route to finishing with a 24-3 record. Glaus is excited to continue that success.

“They love basketball out there and I’ve been passionate about the game since I can remember,” said Glaus. “I think it will be a great fit and I’m going to work hard from them and obviously they have a culture and a program that’ll do the same.”

Glaus planned to meet with Christian’s returning players Tuesday and has been working with Bellach going over regulations that have been set in place for summer workouts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The health and safety of everybody comes first,” Glaus said. “So I think we’re going to iron a lot of that stuff out in the next week.”

Glaus was a standout player for Whitehall during his prep career and then had a strong collegiate career at UM-Western. After graduating, he spent one year as the head coach of the Bulldogs’ JV program and was as an assistant under coach Steve Keller.

Now, Glaus is ready to take on a new challenge at Christian.

“I’m excited for what God has in store for me at Manhattan Christian,” he said. “I feel like it’s a great place, great people, and I can’t wait to get going.”