By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN
It appears likely that North Dakota State quarterback Carsen Wentz will be the top draft pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Wentz would be the fourth top pick in the NFL draft to have faced the Grizzilies in football. In the 1950’s Oregon’s George Shaw and Colorado State’s Gary Glick and then in 1993 Washington State Drew Bledsoe was the top pick and the previous September Bledsoe passed for 425 yards against the Griz but still needed a late score to ensure a win over Montana. Two number 2 overall picks faced the Griz in their college careers–Utah State’s Merlin Olsen in 1962 and Washington State’s Ryan Leaf in the 1998 draft. Multi-sport star Terry Baker won the Heisman, and was the top pick out of Oregon State, but he faced Montana in basketball.
It was 40 years ago this week that Michigan State reached out to Missoula to get their new basketball coach. Jud Heathcote was hired in hopes of returning some sanity to the Spartan program which had been on NCAA probation for the previous two seasons. The last player signed for UM by Heathcote was Hellgate star and future coach Blaine Taylor.
Former NBA coach Mike Dunleavy SR. was recently hired as the new coach at Tulane University. Dunleavy was part of an interesting match-up at Dahlberg Arena in 2005. Dunleavy was head coach of the Los Angles Clippers when they came to Missoula to face Mike Montgomery’s Golden State Warriors. What made this exhibition game unique was that one of the young stars on the Golden State roster at that time was Mike Dunlleavy Jr. Less than 2 months later Mike Montgomery’s son John played at Dahlberg arena as a member of the Loyola Merrymount team.
Former Grizzly basketball coach Pat Kennedy will be returning to at least the practice court in college basketball. Brian Kennedy, Pat’s nephew, has been hired as the new head coach at New Jersey Institute of Technology–a Division I program that in recent years pulled some big upsets. Brian has invited his uncle to help assess talent amd to help install a new defensive scheme.
When you think of college golf you think of school like Florida, Texas and Stanford. But now you have to include Boise State in that discussion. Sunday ten golfers tied for 4th place among them former BSU golfers Graham Deleat and Tyler Aldridge. Aldridge grew up in Caldwell Idaho. Also, among those ten golfers tied were were two veteran champions of major titles, Ernie Els and David Toms. Els won his first major in June of 1994 when fellow golfer Jordan Speith was 11 months old.
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.