UM Sports Trivia | Week of June 2

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

Travis Decuire got off to a fast start at Montana as a player. In his first start as the Griz point guard in November of 1991 Decuire helped lead the Griz to a 77-38 rout of PAC-12 power Oregon. Decuirehad an outstanding game as Montana faced Florida State in the opening round of the 1992 NCAA tournament, even earning some footage in CBS’s “One Shining Moment.”  That Montana Florida State game featured four Grizzly head basketball coaches, Decuire, Blaine Taylor, Don Holst and FSU coach Pat Kennedy.

Coach Decuire comes from a Cal program that in recent years has a record similar to Montana.  In fact, Both the Cal Golden Bears and the Montana Grizzlies have won exactly 100 games since January 1, 2010.  This past season Montana and Cal had two common opponents, Washington and Southern Utah.   The Cal Bears didn’t make the NCAA tournament this season but on February 1st they did knock off top-ranked Arizona 60-58 handing the Wildcats their first loss of the season.

Twenty-five years ago Tuesday Don Read and his Montana Grizzly football team picked up a win that would springboard them into an 11 win season and their first ever trip to the NCAA FCS Semi-finals. It is rare for a football team to get a big win in June but the 28-13 Griz win over a team of Griz alums proved to be a tremendous moral boost. The Alums had downed the Griz the previous three years in their annual spring showdown. Grady Bennet threw for over 200 yards and 3 TDs. Ironically NCAA rule changes for spring practices made a rematch a moot point.

The Miami Heat are the first NBA team in over a quarter of a century to reach the NBA finals for the fourth consecutive season. Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics reached the finals from 1984-87 winning twice and losing two finals in that span. Earlier in the 1980’s the Los Angeles Lakers won four Western titles in a row winning titles in 1982 and 1985 but falling short in ’83 and ’84.

Sometime the sports world and the Music world work well together. Last week the St. Louis cardinals had a special bobblehead promotion. Instead of Matt Carpenter or Yadier Molina featured on the bobblehead it was the likeness of Rock and Roll pioneer Chuck Berry. Berry is a long-time Cardinal fan and a regular visitor to Busch Stadium.  At Yankee Stadium it’s not over until Frank or Liza sing. After each home game the Yankees play the song “New York, New York” at the conclusion of every game–the Frank Sinatra version if they win and the Liza Minnelli version should the Yankees lose.

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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.