How About the Griz and Lady Griz!!!

By JIM O’DAY

Regardless of what happens later this week in their NCAA Division I basketball tournaments, the Montana Griz and Lady Griz have a lot to be proud of this past season.

I was fortunate enough to spend a considerable amount of time with these young men and women over the years.  Yes, they are every bit as engaging, talented, energetic and bright as they look from the stands or on television.  They also possess that unique attitude that they will not be outworked, nor do they ever have any intentions of losing a game. Somehow, they will get the job done – and this is a reflection of their coaches and their families.

Wayne Tinkle is in the seventh year as head coach for the men’s basketball team. This year, the Griz (25-6) are competing in the NCAA tournament for the third time in four years, and with the appearance in the College Basketball Invitational two years ago, all of his teams the past four years have competed in post-season play, and have won 20 or more games.  His assistants this year are: Jono Metzger-Jones, Freddy Owens and Kerry Rupp.

University of Montana Grizzlies – 2013 Big Sky Conference Champs! Photo by AustinSmith.

In addition to NCAA Division I appearances this year (vs. Syracuse), last year (vs. Wisconsin) and 2009-10 (vs. New Mexico), Tinkle was an assistant coach for the Griz when they advanced to the NCAA tournaments in 2001-02 (vs. Oregon) and 2004-05 (vs. Nevada and Boston College).

By claiming the Big Sky Conference crown again Saturday night, the Griz were assured of their 10th trip to the “Big Dance” in school history.  Tinkle is also the first UM head coach to take three teams to the NCAA tourney.

Robin Selvig has been at this a lot longer, and with Saturday afternoon’s victory over Northern Colorado, put the Lady Griz (24-7) into the NCAA tourney for an amazing 20th time over his 35–year career.

University of Montana Lady Griz – 2013 Big Sky Conference Champs!! Photo by AustinSmith.

This year’s appearance against Georgia on Saturday afternoon in Spokane will mark Montana’s fifth appearance in the tourney over the past eight seasons – 2003-04 vs. Louisiana Tech; 2004-05 vs. Vanderbilt; 2007-09 vs. Vanderbilt; 2008-09 vs. Pittsburgh; and 2010-11 vs. UCLA.  During that entire time, his assistant coaches have been Annette Rochleau, Shannon Cate-Schweyen and Trish Duce.

In recognition of their accomplishments, both Wayne and Robin were selected as their respective “Big Sky Conference Coaches of the Year.”  How deserving.  Not only are they outstanding coaches, but incredible representatives of the University of Montana – and just great people. Who wouldn’t want their children to play collegiately for either of these fine gentlemen?

Not since the 2004-05 season have both teams advanced into the NCAA tournament in the same year.  Like then, it created a lot of excitement in “Making It Missoula” proud. Now, let’s “Go Griz and Lady Griz!!!”

**************
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.  Like this blog?  Chances are you’ll like these other Jim O’Day blogs:  Are Predetermined Tournament Sites in the Big Sky Conference’s Future? What the Financial Numbers mean for UM/MSU Athletics. Hiring/Retaining College Coaches is Becoming ToughFormer UM Coaches/Missoula Stars Making it Big in College FootballWhy I chose to Make It Missoula, The Ups & Downs of Being a Griz Fan, Once a Griz, Always a Griz.

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 at UM. 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 atUM.