UM Sports Trivia

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

Left: Jeanette Rankin. Right: Mike Tyson Photos courtesy ofWikipedia

Today (June 11th) is the 132nd anniversary of Montana Congresswoman Jeanette Rankin’s birth. Rankin was the only member of Congress to vote against U.S. entry in to both world wars. It was Rankin’s activism for peace and non-violence that prompted Mike Tyson, on June 11, 2005, to announce his retirement from boxing.

New Sentinel High School boy’s basketball coach Jay Jagelski is the first coach hired outside the Missoula school district to coach the Spartans in 44 years. Back in the spring of 1968 Sentinel was in need of a coach to replace legendary Spartan coach Lou Rocheleau and Bob Luoma, then a Great Falls teacher and coach, was hired. Luoma stayed with the Spartans 19 years and won 3 state titles. Jagelski comes to Missoula after several seasons as head coach at Victor.

During the 2006 baseball season Gerardo Parra was wildly popular with fans of the Missoula Osprey and had a big hand in helping the Ospre win the Pioneer League Championship. Parra is now a fan favorite in Arizona, so much so that fans selected him to be featured on a Bobblehead to be given away at the Diamondbacks August 11th Game.

It is very fitting that Jordan Tripp has been selected to wear “37” for the Grizzly football team. Jordan is part of another great Grizzly tradition as he is a third Generation Griz football player. Jordan’s grandfather Gene played in the 1960’s. Brian Tripp was a star linebacker for Montana in the late 1980’s and had a hand in getting the Griz to the FCS semi-finals for the first time in 1989.

This fall the  National Champion 2001 Montana Grizzly football team will be inducted into the UM Hall of Fame. The 2001 Griz set a record with 15 wins in a season, and also had to play 14 consecutive weeks without a bye on their way to the National Title.

In looking at the 2001 team’s schedule a few intriguing facts come to mind:  First, the University of Hawaii, would, just a few years later, play in a BCS Bowl Game. And Second, two schools on the schedule (Western Washington and St. Mary’s) would soon after drop their football programs.

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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 costumedmascot.

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.