Jim O’Day: Once a Griz Always a Griz

By JIM O’DAY

It’s no secret I love Missoula, and my family and I have decided that of all the choices and places we could call home, we choose to MAKE IT MISSOULA and to use this blog site as a way to express myself creatively as well as to answer the myriad of questions I get asked on a daily basis.

I intend to update this blog every other week, and am open to questions pertaining to intercollegiate athletics topics or even local economic development efforts.  This week I’m addressing the question of: “What are you doing now?” My next blog will center on playoff possibilities for the Big Sky Conference schools following the league’s recent football expansion from nine to 13 schools.

After unexpectedly being relieved of my duties as Director of Athletics at The University of Montana on March 29, I had to ponder the impending question: Do I want to continue in the world of intercollegiate athletics at another school, or find unrelated employment in the area?  Knowing how much Missoula and the entire Treasure State mean to me and my family, it was a no-brainer at this particular point in my life.

In addition to the many wonderful benefits associated with living in this beautiful part of the world, all three of our boys are now back living in Montana.  Chris is employed by Sun Mountain Sports of Missoula after three years working at the Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., and a six-month internship for Seattle University’s athletics department.  Kevin, following two years as a caddie at TPC-Scottsdale, is now based in my hometown of Cut Bank and working for Mountainview Energy Ltd. as a land acquisition manager. Both are using their business degrees from UM to further their career employment opportunities. Our youngest son, Brian, is a senior at UM, majoring in exercisescience.

That being said, I am now gainfully employed in business development/investor relations for a well-respected and locally-owned real estate development firm, The Farran Group. The organization is managed by an incredibly talented pool of principles who share my opinions, philosophies and passions for Montana, and making it an even better place to live for future generations.

It will be a new challenge in my life, but one I’m embracing with open arms.  Like me, the principles in this firm are looking to develop better infrastructure across the state, as well as secure good capital investment opportunities for our clients. Right now, we are focusing on building mid- to upper-level apartments – the latest of which will be the Russell Street Apartment Complex on the old Intermountain Lumber site near The Good Food Store in Missoula.

To stay somewhat connected with intercollegiate athletics, I have also agreed to consult for a Seattle-based social media monitoring firm, Epio Solutions.  The focus of this effort is to closely follow the social networking platforms (Facebook, twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) of student athletes, coaches/staff, boosters and even potential recruits, to help these people make better decisions when engaging in the area of social media. After watching first-hand the damages that can result from these mistakes, I retain a real passion for helping others with better decision making. Our new platform will be on-line shortly, and has already drawn the attention of various athletic directors and coaches across the country.

So there you have it.  This is my new life, coupled with the opportunity to remain in the place I call home.  I am thankful for what I’ve been given, the support I’ve received, and the wherewithal to move forward in a positive direction. I hope you enjoy.

Do you have questions for Jim?  Use this Contact Us form and we’ll forward your questions to him for possible inclusion in future blogs.

**********************

Jim O’Day was Director of Athletics at the University of Montana from 2005-2012. Prior to that, he served as the Assistant Director of the Grizzly Athletic Association and later as the Director of Development  for Intercollegiate Athletics atUM.

Prior to returning to his alma mater in 1998, O’Day was the owner and publisher of the family-owned Western Breeze newspaper in Cut Bank, Montana.

Jim currently works for The Farran Group, a real estate development/ investment firm based in Missoula, MT.  In addition, Jim serves as a consultant for Epio Solutions out of Seattle, a sports based agency primarily focused on monitoring social media platforms for various colleges and universities.

Jim and his wife Kathy have three sons: Chris, Kevin and Brian.  Chris and Kevin are graduates of The University of Montana, while Brian is currently a senior at UM.