UM Sports Trivia | Week of Dec 9

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

The 10 wins the University of Montana Grizzlies ended up with in 2013 was a five win improvement over the 2012 season.  That 5-game improvement is the second best single season improvement in modern Griz football history. In 1968 th4e Griz went 2-7, but turned things around going 10-1 in 1969. This was the 15th time in the last 25 seasons the Griz have won at least 10 games, prior to 1989 the Griz had posted just two 10-win seasons in the program’s history.

Six of the eight schools left in the FCS play-offs have come to Washington Grizzly Stadium at least once in their history. Only Towson of Maryland and Southeastern Louisiana of the 8 quarter finalists have never played in Missoula.

In September of 1993 the Griz debuted a new radio play-by-play voice, Mick Holien, and a new furry Mascot Monte and the program really took off. Over the last 21 seasons the Grizzly football teams have posted 225 wins, meaning that Montana’s “dynamic Duo” has helped account for over 40 % of all Griz football wins in the program’s history. Over those 21 seasons the Griz have had 6 head coaches and a total of 19 different starting quarterbacks.

On Wednesday evening the Idaho Vandals will come to Dahlberg Arena to renew an old rivalry and provide a preview of a rivalry reborn. After 18 years In the Big West and the Western Athletic Conference the Vandals will return to the Big Sky in all sports but football.

Coach Verlin is the first coach in over 40 years to remain at the Vandals helm for more than 5 seasons. In the 4 seasons prior to Verlin’s arrival the Vandals won a total of 24 games, but over the last five plus seasons Idaho has averaged about 15 wins a year. Verlin is a long-time Stew Morill assistant. Verlin is half of the only set of twins to be Division head coaches at the same time; Ron Verlin is 7-1 in his first season at the University of The Pacific in California.

A familiar name on the Vandal roster is senior guard Glen Dean. Dean haunted the Griz in his freshman season at Eastern Washington, after a season in Cheney Dean transferred to Utah and without ever appearing in a game for the Utes transferred to Idaho.

In completing a home and home series with Temple University of Philadelphia the Lady Griz host the Owls Saturday Night. Temple is in its first season in the American Athletic Conference–a league that includes such women’s basketball heavyweights as Connecticut and Louisville.

Owl’s coach Tonya Cardoza spent 14 years as a UCONN assistant before taking the helm at Temple. Cardoza along with hall of famer Dawn Staley led Virginia to three trips to the Women’s final Four in the early l990’s.

The leading scorer on the Temple team is Feyonda Fitzgerald one of several Owl players from the Carolinas.

Florida State quarterback Jakeis Winston is expected to be named Saturday as the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner. Winston was born in early January of 1994 three days after Florida State had been declared the winner of the College Football National Title for the first time in school history. The very day that Winston was born the “Infamous” attack on skater Nancy Kerrigan took place at the U.S. Nationals in Detroit. Kerrigan’s assault you may recall was arranged by fellow skater Tonya Harding.

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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.