UM Sports Trivia | Week of Nov 25

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

For the 11th time in the last 21 seasons the Montana Grizzly football team has won at least 10 regular season games, from 2006 to 2009 the Griz put together 4 consecutive double digit win totals entering the play-offs.

The 2013 Griz have already made a five-win improvement over the previous season. The 5 game positive upswing is the largest for a UM team since 1969 when the Griz went from 2 wins in 1968 to 10 in 1969.  Mick Delaney has improved his win total from his first to his second season more than any other Griz coach. Larry Donovan and Robin Pflugrad each improved by 4 victories in their second season on the job.

From 1993 to 2009 the Grizzlies played a home game the Saturday after Thanksgiving 15 times. The past 4 years UM’s support staff have had the Saturday Thanksgiving as a day of rest.

The MSU Bobcats can take solace in the fact that they did claim a win over a team headed to the play-off–Northern Arizona–but unfortunately for the Cats they closed out the season with losses to three play-off bound teams.

Tuesday Night the Grizzly men will attempt to claim a win over a Pac-12 team when they face the Washington Huskies in Seattle. Over the last 8 seasons the Griz have claimed wins over Pac-12 members: Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford and (my favorite) UCLA. Four years ago the Griz fell by just 4 points to a Washington team that would advance to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament.

The Huskies have not lost to a Big Sky team since falling at home to Eastern Washington in December of 2002.

The last time the Griz played the Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii it was February of 2012 and Kerry Rupp was on the Hawaii staff. Now Rup is a member of the Griz staff. The Griz last played in Hawaii in December of 2001 in a tournament but Montana never faced Hawaii in that visit to the Islands. It has been some 30 years since the Griz played the Rainbow warriors in Hawaii.

It was 25 years ago this week that the Montana Lady Griz put a true freshman in their starting line-up as they opened their season against Eastern Illinois. Shannon Cate would only miss a start when her shoulder problems prevented her from suiting up. Also in that game against EIU the Lady Griz start a black player for the first time as Long Beach State transfer Vickie Austin took over at the point guard position.

After facing the Pioneers of Denver Wednesday the Lady Griz face North Dakota State in the opening round of the Loyola Marymount tournament. This is the third time the Lady Griz has played in a tournament in California over the Thanksgiving Holiday in the last 10 years. In 2004 the Lady Griz won the Pepperdine tournament, but in 2010 the Lady Griz lost both games at the St. Mary’s tournament.

This weekend the Grizzly volleyball team returns to the Conference tournament. Montana last won a tournament match in  1996 when Dana Bennish was the captain and Dick Scott was Montana’s head coach.

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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.