UM Sports Trivia | Week of Dec 2

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

As regular a December tradition as Santa and his reindeer, Montana is hosting an FCS playoff games in Missoula. Since 1994 the Grizzlies have played 29 December play-off games and gone 21-8 in those post-season encounters.

Coastal Carolina is a fairly young institution having opened its doors in 1954. When was the last time you watch a football game where both head coaches were older than one of the participating Universities. Forty years ago both Joe Maglia and Mick Delaney were coaching high School football.

The Coastal Carolina coach Maglia was a successful High school coach for 20 years and then got out of coaching for nearly a decade to establish his own financial investment business. Maglia returned to coaching and spent 2 years on Bo Pelini’s staff at Nebraska.

It has not been that long ago that a another member of the Big South Conference played the Grizzlies in Missoula, on September 15, 2012 Montana beat a game Liberty Flame team.

Montana is one of only four former FCS National Champs left in the final 16. Montana, who won titles in 1995 and 2001, is joined by 2-time defending national champs North Dakota State and former champs Eastern Washington and Furman. Both McNeese State and Sam Houston played for the title twice but each lost in a pair of title games.

A win Saturday would give the Griz an 11-win season for the 14th time in 25 seasons, before 1989 the Griz best win total was 10.

Not to be outdone by a play-off football game the annual Lady Griz Holiday Tournament is on tap for Friday and Saturday in Dahlberg Arena. Idaho has been a regular in the Montana tournament over the last dozen years, but both Cal-Irvine and Appalachian State are new to the Montana tournament.

The Idaho Vandals count on five players from outside North America on their roster. Australian, Stacey Barr led the Vandals to the WAC tournament title and into a first round match-up with eventual national champion Connecticut.

Vandals head coach Jon Newlee claimed a Conference tournament title in Dahlberg Arena while the head coach at Idaho State in 2007.

For much of Newlee time at Idaho State his men’s basketball counterpart was Doug Oliver who is now the Women’s coach at Cal-Irvine. Oliver spent one season (1980-81) as the Boys head coach at Whitefish. Oliver along with UM’s Robin Selvig are likely to be the only head coaches to have coached in Dahlberg Arena in five different decades (70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and ‘10’s). Oliver was a Boise State assistant, Whitefish High coach, Idaho head coach and now is at the helm of the Anteaters.

One of the Cal-Irvine players has played at Dahlberg Arena against the Lady Griz before. Madison McKenney was a sophomore at Cal State Bakersfield two years ago when the Roadrunners had just 6 players in uniform yet pulled off a convincing win over Montana.

Appalachian State coach Darcie Vincent has never coached in Montana before and was never on the staff at Idaho State but has a popular school on her resume, she spent six seasons at Slippery Rock of Pennsylvania. Here’s a stat that will raise some eyebrows, entering this weekend’s tournament both Appalachian State and Montana have won exactly 105 games since the start of the 2008-09 season.

Before the football game or the basketball games take place TV viewers around the world will be treated to a live stage performance of “The Sound of Music.” A sports connection involving Maria Von Trapp, whose life the Musical is based on. Maria Von Trapp died on March 28; 1987 in Vermont the very day that Legendary coach Pat summit won her first national title.

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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.