By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN
As the Montana Grizzlies face the possibility of going 1-3 to start the season it is only fitting that the Homecoming parade Grand Marshall is the last coach to begin a Griz season 1-3 (1992). Don Read however is best remembered for turning the Football program at UM around and winning a national title. Read’s national title winning team had a very close call at Saturday’s foe Northern Arizona. Back in l995 it took a late Andy Larson field goal to secure a win at Flagstaff. Luckily for the title team’s reunion the Griz defensive coordinator in l995 is also in town but as head coach of the other team–Jerome Souers. Souers spent 12 seasons on the Griz staff before beginning a remarkable 18 season run at NAU.
The Griz want to settle some scores, the last two times Montana has played NAU the Lumberjhacks have prevailed, including a romp in 2012 for NAU’s first ever win at Washington Grizzly stadium. Montana’s last win in the series came in Flagstaff in 2011–a 4-point win that saw All-American candidate Jordan Tripp suffer an injury that ended his season.
Chad Chidlick the Griz back-up quarterback and possible starter on Saturday has had a lot of head coaches to deal with in his college career. Chilick was recruited to play for Rob Akey at Idaho, Akey was fired at midseason in 2012; then it was Jason Gasser calling the shots with the Vandals. Paul Petrino arrived in 2013. The quarterback was recruited to UM by Mick Delaney who was then replaced by Bob Stitt.
The Griz are one of two Big Sky teams without an interception thus far in 2015, but the defense of the Griz is third against the run in the Big Sky. In addition the Griz have three of the top ten leaders in tackles with the Senior trio of Kendrick Van Ackeren, Jeremiah Kose and Tyrone Holmes. Holmes leads the Big Sky in sacks.
It was 45 years ago Saturday that Northern Arizona made its debut as a member of the Big Sky Conference falling to the Montana Grizzlies 20-0 in Flagstaff. It was 28 years ago Saturday that No. 1 ranked Nevada came calling only to be overwhelmed by a fired up Montana team 41-29.
Saturday will be the 300th broadcast of a Grizzly football game by legendary announcer Mick Holien. The Griz are 235-64 when Mick is calling the game.
Fifty Years ago Saturday Missoula had a lot of champs to celebrate. The Minnesota Twins made up of many former Missoula Timberjacks claimed the American League pennant with a win at Washington at the same stadium that the franchise called home when it was the original Washington Senators. In the Adams center that same night basketball fans got to see a rematch of the previous spring’s NBA finals as the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics met in a preseason exhibition game. The game had been arranged in December of 1964 soon after the Lakers claimed Anaconda native Wayne Estes in the NBA’s territorial draft. Estes died in February of 1965 but the game remained in Missoula.
Chris Walterskirchen has been an observer of Montana sports for nearly half a century. A Kalispell native, Chris has worked in various capacities for professional and college sports organization of at various times: ranging from announcing and statistical work to the concessions and even a stint as a costumed mascot.
Chris has academic degrees in communications and elementary education. His style of sports trivia involves more than just who won and who lost, but also focuses on the obscure or human side of sports. In this blog you will learn things like the Grizzly football team has won 210 games over the 19 seasons since they have had Monte as their mascot or that UNLV is the only school that both the Griz and Lady Griz have both faced in the NCAA basketball tournament
When not following sports Chris enjoys taking care of animals of all kinds (a peacock rescue?) and reading to pre-schoolers.