UM Sports Trivia | April 8

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

Unfortunately Weber State lost on a buzzer-beater in the Finals of the CIT Classic last week. While Weber State would have been the first men’s team from the Big Sky to win a national post-season tournament, technically a Big Sky women’s basketball program won a major post-season tournament, as the University of Idaho women won the Prestigious WNIT in 1986 (the Big Sky women’s team played at the time in the original Mountain West Conference). Those talented Vandals were beaten twice that season by the Montana Lady Griz.

Rick Pitino’s final win as head coach at Kentucky was a win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the 1997 National Semi-finals. Now Pitino will be rooting for the Golden Gophers as his son Richard is the new Minnesota head coach. Ironically young Pitino is replacing Tubby smith with the Gophers as Smith had succeeded the older Pitino at Kentucky in 1997.

Louisville is the first University to win a BCS Bowl game and have both of its basketball teams reach the Final Four, even forgetting that both teams reach their respective national title games.

A football and baseball tidbit here. Twice since the Grizzlies moved into Washington Grizzly stadium in 1986, has there been a no-hitter in Major League baseball the same day as the Griz have opened their home football schedule. In 1993 The Griz introduced their new mascot MONTE and a new quarterback in Dave Dickenson and staged a rally from 31 points down to defeat South Dakota State 52-48. At Yankee Stadium that same day another dramatic comeback story was unfolding as a Yankee left-hander was in the process of pitching a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians. Abbott was born without a right hand and had learned how to field with a glove on the end of his right arm. On September 1, 2007 Cole Berquist returned as Griz quarterback and led Montana to a 37-3 win over Southern Utah. The Boston Red Sox were rolling towards their second World title in 4 years when Clay Bucholz held the Tampa Bay Rays without a hit.

We were as shocked and saddened by the tragic death of Hellgate Senior Chance Geery last week. I dealt with chance long before he was a sports star back when he was in first grade. The night before “Lego Day” Chance spent hours coming up with designs he wanted to create with all the legos. When it was the day of the annual Bonner Sucker Sale he bought 4 different flavors and proceeded to suck on all four at the same time, quite a talent.  Chance dreamed of playing for the Griz and it was only fitting that his memorial service was at the stadium he so loved. Chance was a gentleman and an appropriate tribute to Chance and other gentleman athlete is that we show the same level of class at future sporting events as people like Chance showed throughout his life.

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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.