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Montana Western Names Janelle Handlos as Interim Athletic Director

Press release from UMW:

With the recent departure of Athletics Director Bill Wilson from UMW, Dr. Janelle Handlos has been named Interim Director of Athletics. Handlos, an Associate Professor of Health and Human Performance, will assume her new role starting July 5, 2021.

“I look forward to continuing to support the success of our student-athletes and coaches over the coming year,” said Handlos. “Montana Western means so much to me and my family, and I’m excited to soon kick-off the fall season and welcome the community to our many upcoming Bulldog games and events.”

An alumna of Montana Western, Handlos also served as Interim Athletic Director during the 2012-13 academic year and was a member of the UMW Athletic Department staff from 2001-2015, athletic trainer from 2001-2006, and then head athletic trainer from 2007-2015. Since fall 2015, she has taught full-time in the Health and Human Performance Department and served as Department Chair.

Handlos graduated from Montana Western (Western Montana College) in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education: Physical Education & Health, an emphasis in Sports Medicine and a minor in English. In 2001, she received her Master of Science in Health & Human Development degree from Montana State University, and in 2014 she received her Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Montana.

Handlos has also served as a member of the Executive Council of the Montana Athletic Trainers’ Association, and as a coach and safety officer for local youth sports programs. She serves on several campus committees, including the UMW Scholarship Committee. One of her favorite activities of the year is hosting the Annual UMW Scholarship Luncheon during which committee members present students with awards that allow them to achieve their educational and life goals.

“We wish Bill the best as he moves to be closer to family and pursue his future endeavors. Thank you, Bill, for your dedication to Montana Western and our student-athletes over the past three and a half years,” said Chancellor Michael Reid. “We are also excited to welcome Janelle as our Interim Athletics Director for the upcoming academic year and know that Bulldog Athletics will be in good hands due to her experience and dedication to Montana Western.”

“As a member of the Bulldog Family for more than 20 years, I am acutely aware of the important role athletics plays on our campus and within our broader community. I’m excited to continue to build on the partnerships we have established and work on behalf of our program to keep building on our success,” Handlos said. “Our outstanding coaches have our teams poised for success in this upcoming year and we are incredibly excited to welcome our community back to events this fall. I look forward to working with our campus and community leaders to ensure a safe and inviting experience for our students, staff, and fans as we kick off the fall semester with home football, basketball, rodeo and cross country competitions.”

Janelle, her husband Keith, and son Taylor are avid supporters of community athletics and attend as many sporting events as they can. They also enjoy hunting and fishing in the beautiful Dillon area.

Montana Western will conduct a national search to find its next permanent athletic director during the coming year. For more information about Bulldog Athletics, contact: or call 406-683-7220.

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