UM Sports Trivia | Week of May 25

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

When Dan Hodge agreed to be track coach at Flathead High School it was conditional upon getting updated equipment for his athletes to use and the addition of weight equipment to help his athletes be better prepared. Hodge got the job after the Distinct 5 school board defeated a motion to drop boys track. It took Hodge 20 years to win a state track title but the overall title draught was 88 years. Now the Flathead boys have 8 state titles over the last two decades.

At this writing it seems likely that the NBA finals will be a match-up between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavilers. It has been 40 years since the Warriors have reached the finals. The 1975 Final between the Warriors and the Washington Bullets marked the first time in American team sports that the championship of a major sport featured two black head coaches (Al Attles and KC Jones). The Warriors downed the Bullets 4-0 in games. KC Jones had something of a Missoula connection as he was head coach of the New England women’s basketball team that featured Missoula native and long time Sentinel girls basketball coach Karen Deden.

The coaching change in the Florida Gators men’s basketball inspires two trivia related to UM Athletics. In 1995 Billy Donovan was the head basketball coach and spoke to the Thundering Herd football team the morning of the Herd’s 22-20 title game loss to Montana. New Gators head coach Mike White was hired in 2011 to replace future Griz assistant coach Kerry Rupp at Louisiana Tech.

keyboardPittsburgh Pirates pitcher A. J. Burnett is currently leading the National League in earn run average. This is Burnett’s 16th season in the majors, the longest span since throwing a no-hitter among active players. Burnett threw an “a No” in 1991. Burnet is now 38 years old and is older than 26 members of the US House ofRepresentatives.

Speaking of the U.S. House, a few of the members of the House have sports-important dates of birth. Arizona Congressman David Schweikert shares a March 3, 1962 birthday with sports stars Herschel Walker and Jackie Joyner Kersey. Arkansas Representative Bruce Westerman was born on November 18, 1967. While the future congressman was being born the Montana Grizzly football team trounced Portland State 55-7. Vikings head Coach Jerry Lyons was fired in the locker room and Portland hired Humboldt State assistant Don Read.

A basketball pioneer died last week at the age of 89. Marques Haynes never played in the NBA but spent more than 25 years touring with the Harlem Globetrotters and then with his own team Marques and his basketball Magicians, which focus more on basketball tricks than slapstick comedy. Haynes contributed to making the Dallas Cowboys more explosive. Haynes’ son-in-law was cowboy’s star receiver, Drew Pierson, who learned some of his acrobatic moves from the basketball Legend.

 

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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.