Facebook Hacked

This morning I awoke and as I usually do, I checked my e-mail on my phone. One of my messages happened to be from Facebook. Instead of informing me that I had been tagged in a picture or that someone was requesting to be my friend, the e-mail detailed that my Facebook account had been logged into from a computer that had never accessed my account before. It instructed me to log in as soon as possible and answer a couple of questions on whether the source that attempted to log in was legitimate or not.

I immediately thought that the unfamiliar computer source could have been my personal lap top that I keep at my house. I had logged into Facebook from it the night before to perform some NFL Draft updates.  But this would have been strange as I have logged into my FB account from this computer many times before, just not with the frequency that I do on my phone or from my desktop computer at work. I tried accessing my account from my phone but all it would say was that an unfamiliar source tried to log into my account and I would need to verify if it was a trusted source. However, I did not have the option to verify it on my phone which was quite frustrating. Although a little miffed at this inconvenience, I was already on my way to work as I was covering our cheerleading tryouts today. I got to my office and logged into Facebook.
When I logged on, I got the same message about an unfamiliar source attempting to log into my account. This time, however, I actually had a link that I could click on to see the location of where the source was that tried to log in. As I clicked on the link and I saw where the source had come from, I was shocked.
After I clicked the link, Facebook displayed a map that was focused on Central America with an arrow pointing at Leon, Nicaragua. This was where the source was that logged in as me, knowing my e-mail address and password. I immediately clicked the link indicating that this source was not my own activity. Facebook then pulled up a message explaining that an outside party had managed to intercept my information. They told me that in addition to my Facebook information, any other account that I use that has the same password could also be implicated. As I use the same password for my e-mail, bank account, twitter, and many other different services, I started to freak out a little bit. After I followed the directions to change my Facebook password, I went through and changed the password on all my other accounts.
I don’t know if you realize how hard this was for me to do. I have had the same trusty, unguessable password for probably the last ten years. I could type this long password in a half second…with one hand…with one finger…with my eyes closed.  To get rid of a password that I had identified with for so long kind of hurt.
But what hurt more was the fact that someone or something in Nicaragua had access to my Facebook account and quite possibly all of my other accounts as well. I mean I guess I have to thank Facebook for identifying this right away and for not allowing the source to delve deeper into my profile but something just seems a little off. I am wondering if people are now going to start seeing that ridiculous “Crazed fan stabs Justin Bieber” headline under my name. Are people going to start getting Twitter direct messages from me saying “Someone got real personal about you in a blog?” Worst yet, am I going to wake up tomorrow morning and discover that my bank account is overdrawn?
This was very unsettling news. The last thing I want is for some untrusted source in a third world country messing around with my most personal and most important information. If anyone has had this happen to them, please let me know. Don’t Blink.

Meeting Dierks Bentley

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend Dierks Bentley’s “Country and Cold Cans” tour as it made a stop in Missoula. With the Eli Young Band as his main opening act, I had the date circled on my calendar for a long time.

Among others, the group I attended the concert with included my boss Christie, co-worker Jimmy, my intern Nick, and my friend Kathy who had made the trip over from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Jimmy hails from the great state of Texas and it just so happens that he has contacts within the country music industry. Because of these special connections, he was able to score us meet and greet passes with the headliner himself, Dierks Bentley. So while the first opening act, Will Hoge, opened the show, the five of us went to the designated area in the Adams Center to meet Dierks.
If you have never experienced a concert meet and greet before, the best way I can describe it is organized chaos. The performer’s crew simply throws up some pipe and drape (fancy talk for temporary curtains and poles) and welcomes in 50-75 excited, liquored up people to meet the star in a short period of time before he/she/they have to go on stage and perform.  Because the crew has had loads and loads of experience doing these types of things night in and night out and because they tolerate absolutely no funny business, these meet and greets usually go on without a hitch.
We had to line up in the northwest corner of the Adams Center concourse at 7:45pm. After about twenty minutes of standing in line, the organizers let us all into the meet and greet area and briefed us on the rules. Basically, they told us to compose ourselves when we met Dierks and to keep it short. They told us that we were allowed to have ONE item signed and ONE picture taken. They emphasized to have the item out that you wanted signed as you approached Mr. Bentley. They also stressed that we were not to take any pictures at all with our own devices while Dierks was present. You see, they have a professional photographer take all the pictures. It is a pretty decent deal, a couple days after the meet and greet you get to go on Dierks’ website and download for free a nice, professionally taken photo of yourself with the star. You can use it at your disposal to put up on Facebook or e-mail to anyone you want.
After the briefing the mob that had circled around the person who explained the directions broke and the line to meet Dierks formed. The five of us were a little slow to realize that this line was forming so by the time we actually did realize what was going on, we were far in the back. Well, we weren’t going to settle for that. Nick, Kathy, and myself remedied the situation by cutting half way up the line while Jimmy took the initiative to cut in front of about 80% of the people in line. Christie blended in by following Jimmy and sticking at his side. I mean we didn’t care about missing Will Hoge but we were going to make sure we didn’t miss a second of the Eli Young Band.
Now remember how I told you that there was a strict policy not  to take any personal pictures while in the meet and greet area? That simple rule was a rather tough one to follow for me. The moment Dierks entered the meet and greet area and started receiving the people in line I had my camera out and started snapping away. By about my third  picture, the staffer who was assisting the photographer looked back, saw me, made eye contact, and exclaimed “Any more shenanigans and you are out of here!” Yes, he actually said shenanigans. That camera went right back into my pocket….for the time being. I managed to take several more photos while he was not watching.
Christie and Jimmy were the first ones in our group to meet Dierks. Christie talked to him first and all she could muster to say was “Hi…I’m Christie……………can you sign my ticket?” However, for the little that Christie had to say, Jimmy made up for it. Jimmy went on a soapbox talking to Dierks about canoeing. Bless Dierks’ heart, he played the role of captive listener as Jimmy went on and on about stuff that Bentley had no idea about. While Dierks was very patient, the people running the meet and greet were not. They quickly ushered Jimmy on.
Jimmy and Christie with Dierks.

About ten minutes later, it was my turn to meet Dierks. While walking up to him I composed myself and tried to block out the adult liquids that were in my system. I initiated the conversation.

ME: Hi Dierks, I am Brent

DIERKS: Hi Brent, I’m Dierks. (Yes, even though I addressed him by his name initially, he said it again…mildly awkward).
ME: Thanks for coming to Missoula. Did you end up hiking the M today? (I asked this because earlier in the day he had sent out the following tweet: good morning Missoula! so many possibilities today..hike the M, go fishing, take the jeep and a banjo into some back country,…).
DIERKS: Actually I didn’t get around to it. I ended up taking my jeep up Rattlesnake Rd.
ME: That’s awesome. That is where I live!
DIERKS: You are lucky. Beautiful country up there.
ME: Thanks for doing this Dierks.
DIERKS: No problem buddy.

And that was it, I gracefully went off to the side, making sure not to overstay my welcome. On purpose, I did not have him sign an autograph for me. As I have written about before, I find no redeeming value in an autograph.
Me with Dierks. Good guy.
It was then Kathy’s turn to meet Dierks. After their greetings, she told him that she worked at a golf course in Coeur d’Alene. When she said that, Dierks responded with “The Raven?” The Raven is a popular golf course in the CDA area. Kathy responded with “Actually the Coeur d’Alene Resort.” To this, Dierks responded, “Well I will have to find you next time.”
Kathy and Dierks!
 Lastly, Nick got his turn to meet Dierks. As Nick is really good at kissing ass, he told Dierks that the whole state of Montana had come out to see him perform. After some pleasantries between the two, Nick informed Dierks  to hang in there because there were hot girls at the end of the line (a couple who happen to be on the Dance Team). To this Dierks slyly responded, “Saving the best for last.” Classic.
Nick and Dierks.
 What struck me the most about Dierks was how soft spoken he was. It was a natural conversation between him and I, it was not like he was some over the top personality who made me shiver in my shoes when he talked with me. But thinking about it, this should not surprise me that much. In the past several months I have met other country stars such as Toby Keith, Summer Sweeney, and Justin Moore and they are all the same…they talk to you like a normal person. Obviously, this is because they are normal people themselves. Just normal people who have extraordinary talents who happened to work their butts off to cultivate their talents as much as possible. There really is something to that southern charm as country superstars are the nicest celebrities you will meet. I am glad I got to meet another one this past Thursday. Don’t Blink.

Posts about other country stars I have met:
Toby Keith
Justin Moore

Condescending Wonka: Wisdom to Live By

Over the past six months or so, the Willy Wonka memes have taken over Facebook and the internet. I am sure you have all seen what I am talking about…there is a picture of Willy Wonka (from the old movie in 1971, not Johnny Depp) leaning his head on his hand decked out in his candy man costume with a creepy smile that would scare any parent with young kids. In the picture there is text at the top that says something that usually starts with “Oh, so you…….” and then at the bottom there is a sarcastic punch line. The jokes are a play on the real personality of Willy Wonka in the actual movie but usually make fun of present social norms. Many of them are really funny.

Unfortunately for me, I hate seeing these things pop up on Facebook because Willy Wonka (the one from the 70’s) just makes me a little queasy. I think the whole movie is really weird and let’s face it, seeing some creepy guy in an over-the-top purple suit is not what I want to see on my Facebook news feed…please give me more of my hot lady friends in their bikinis.
So to keep the humor but to resist the urge to click on the hideous image of Wonka, this past weekend I started following Condescending Wonka (@OhWonka) on Twitter. It is already one of my favorite accounts to follow. In fact, I retweeted three of the Condescending Wonka’s brilliant pieces of sarcastic wisdom over the weekend. For tonight’s blog post I would like to share with you the three tweets that I retweeted and offer some quick commentary on them. Oh Wonka, you crack me up!:
1. “Oh, you replied to my text with the letter “K”…you must like talking about Potassium.”
Nothing is more annoying or standoffish than the “K” text.  Lazy, disrespectful, and unoriginal are great ways to describe it. Yes, I have used it before. I rarely pull the “K” card but when I do it is usually because I am frustrated and I want to say the least possible because if I let loose I might text something that I regret. But some people use it way too much and will then even get angry at others when they use it. I “K’d” a person the other day and that person responded with “don’t  ever ‘k’ me.” I reminded the person that she had used it on me first. Not believing me,  I was able to just go back in our chat conversation (thank goodness for iphones!) and screen capture a couple days earlier when this person used “k” and sent it right back…sweet redemption!

But honestly, using “K” in texts is bush league. Have the respect for the other person to at least give them an “okay.” At the bare minimum, double up and give your text recipient a “kk.” If you do decide to do the unthinkable, at least have the decency to give the person a capital K with a period at the end (i.e. “K.”). Using “k” is just a slap in the face.

2. “Let’s have a round of applause for the heroes that save all the cancer-ridden children by liking and sharing those Facebook statuses.”
This one speaks so much truth. If there is one thing that pushes me away from Facebook more than anything else, it is the copied status updates addressing some disease or natural disaster. In my opinion, the people who share and like these updates are doing more to spurn the problem than solve it. These clueless people probably think that instead of actually getting away from their computer and donating money to cancer research/relief efforts or actually going out in the community and visiting sick people, they are doing their part by clicking the“like” button or copying and pasting something as their status. Asinine.
First off, all of those statuses that say something along the lines of “post this as your status and $5 will be donated to cancer research” are complete scams. Secondly, how self-serving and arrogant is it to do something like that? Let’s be honest here, many people do it to portray themselves in a positive light. It is like the people who decide to give something up for lent and then broadcast it all over social media or decide to tell all their friends. Do things for the right reasons, not for praise from others.
3. Oh, you’re jamming to the latest popular song on your iPod? Please, join the countless others in tweeting the same lyrics.”
This one made me laugh the most because I am so guilty of it! Thanks Condescending Wonka for putting me in my place. Sometimes it is just so hard not to tweet lyrics though! I will be driving in my car to work in the morning and a great country song will come on and motivate me for the day ahead and I just can’t resist but to share it with my followers (follow me @BrentR7). When you have over 11,400 tweets you have to have something to fill the content, right?

It is cliché and unoriginal so perhaps I should try to cut back a little bit. What I think Wonka should have done though is call out the people who tweet lyrics and butcher them. Nothing is more annoying than incorrectly tweeting lyrics, in fact, it should result in the loss of Twitter privileges.


Thank you Condescending Wonka for bringing a little bit of humor and sarcasm into my life. Don’t get too comfortable around me though, I can tolerate reading your tweets but please save me the eye sore and get the hell off of my news feed. Don’t Blink.

We’re Not Young

This is the video that is the focus of this blog post

The song “We Are Young” by Fun never really grew on me. In fact, I seemed to hate it a little bit more each time I heard it. Seemed to me like the group was trying a little too hard to be different. Also, it seemed like my friends who liked the song had an affinity for it because they thought listening to it made them a little more cultured when it comes to music. Seriously, just go listen to country.

Usually, if I don’t like an original song I am not going to really care for the parody. While lyrics play a large role of any song, if the music and beat is bad, I most likely will not listen. If I buy a Weird Al album it better have several parodies of songs I actually enjoy or else I will pass. But,  there is always an exception.
Last week Yahoo released a parody of “We Are Young” called “We’re Not Young.” The video went viral very quickly and by this time it seems like everyone has watched it.  For despising the original so much, I have a love-hate relationship with “We’re Not Young.”
“We’re Not Young” obviously flips the message of the original and talks more about the hardships of getting older rather than the anything goes attitude of people a little younger. Specifically, the parody makes fun of people in their thirties and brings to light many of the not so glamorous events, attitudes, challenges, and responses that people in this age demographic go through. “We’re Not Young” is a true parody in that both the song and the music video spin off of “We Are Young.” Honestly, you need to watch the video. The lyrics and scenes are hilarious, you will be laughing throughout the whole thing. Issues such as weight gain, laziness, employment, empty relationships, and alcoholism are all brought up. The singers/actors in the video do a great job and I guarantee that you will watch it more than once. I have watched/listened to it so much that I now am totally accustomed to the parody over the original. If I am in my car and “We Are Young” comes on it just does not seem right to me.
A few of my co-workers and I watched the video together and could not stop laughing. We had a great time identifying what parts of the song were direct reflections of us and then also what parts fit our other co-workers and friends to a T. Watching the video with other people around you is much more fun than just watching by yourself. Okay, let me explain…
So while the “We’re Not Young” parody is very funny and creative it is also very depressing. It basically sheds light on the grim reality of being in your thirties and realizing that you are a total loser…scary.  Although I am still just twenty-five, I feel like I identified with that song a couple more ways than what I would like (besides just the “start a blog” line). While watching the video half of me was laughing while the other half of me was pretty concerned. If you read my blog much, youknow that I have a little bit of a phobia with getting older. Well, “We’re Not Young” did nothing to calm those fears. I admit it, the song was a reality check for me and sent the message that I have some work to do if I don’t want to end up like the people in that video.
If you want a mix of emotions, take a look at “We’re Not Young.” Not only does it improve greatly upon a terrible song, it offers some great life insight while delivering many laughs. All I can say is that if you are my age or older, you might want to have a beer or a tub of ice cream with you to indulge in after watching because you are probably going to need something to make you feel a little better about yourself. Try not to take it too hard. Don’t Blink.

Urban Deer

Please view this great story that my friend Emily did that explains the issue I am about to address.

Growing up in Spokane, whenever my family saw an animal that was not a cat, a dog, or some type of domesticated pet, it was a big deal. We just did not see wildlife that often so our jaws always dropped when we saw something out of the ordinary, such as a raccoon or a moose. Another animal that would immediately cause my dad to slam on the brakes and have all of us look out the window in awe was a deer.  Seeing a bambi on a trip would all but secure the fact that we would be talking about the sighting for the remainder of the car ride.

Deer were rare, wild, and mystical creatures that everyone in my family had a fascination with. Then I moved to Montana…
When I first moved to Missoula and started going to school here, I was very impressed and amazed at the plethora and “friendliness” of the deer around the town.  Never had I seen a deer up close, let alone ten of them at once. I remember daily walking across campus from my residence hall to the gym at 6am in the morning and walking past a whole troop of deer that would congregate in the middle of the oval (big grassy space in the center of campus at UM). It seemed to me that it was Montana at its finest, man one with nature.
However, somewhere along the way my opinion started to change a little. The novelty started to wear off a little bit. Probably at the point when I moved up into the Rattlesnake did I realize that these deer might not be as cool as I first thought. I didn’t necessarily like them overtaking our lawn and leaving their droppings all over the place. They kind of put a damper on Halloween when they would eat our jack-o-lanterns one hour after we put them out on our porch. Waiting for them to leave the road when a big pack congregated right in the middle of it was a waste of my time. I didn’t particularly care for the shot of adrenaline I got the many times a deer would randomly jump out in front of me and I would have to make a split second turn of the wheel to avoid smashing it. Oh well, I guess that feeling was a lot better than what I felt after I actually did smash into a deer (that car has since been totaled)…
Missoula has an urban deer problem. Up where I live they run wild and they run rampant. They dominate our neighborhood streets and our bigger roadways. For all the people who don’t maintain their lawns, the deer have taken over camp and use it as their hang out headquarters. The degree that the Missoula urban deer “don’t give a shit” surpasses that of even the honey badger…I am not kidding. You really can’t rattle these creatures, mainly because they are too stupid to even realize what is going on. They basically run suicide missions on the hour every hour as they sprint across and down the roadways right in front of vehicles.
A bunch of urban deer in my backyard.
Lately, the city of Missoula has taken a closer look at this dilemma. It is very likely that legislation could get passed and Missoula could implement a program intended to diminish the urban deer population. The city would most likely borrow a plan used by Helena, another city in Montana that saw their neighborhoods overridden with urban deer. Basically, the city would set traps for the deer that would catch them in nets. When a deer is caught, the city would send a responder out who would humanely euthanize the deer. Next, the carcass would be taken to a center where it would be cleaned and cut up and its meat sent to a food bank for needy families.
Well I am definitely all for the trapping and humanely euthanizing of the urban deer I don’t entirely know about sending their meat to food banks. If you could see some of the deer up in my neck of the woods, you would understand what I mean. These are not your healthy, strong, stereotypical beautiful animals. Many of them are straggly and sad looking. You have to realize that these urban deer are out of their natural habitat and mainly dine on garbage and fertilized grass. The idea of any of the deer from my neighborhood ending up on my dinner plate disgusts the hell out of me. I would not wish that as a meal for anyone, no matter how hungry someone is.
An urban deer in my lawn from this past fall. Does not look too healthy to me.
I really don’t like the idea of killing animals, especially if there is no use for them once they have been put down. But something needs to be done about the population of deer in Missoula. I would support trapping them and transporting them out into the wild, but I imagine a few things would happen: They would either immediately get killed by predators or other deer because of their weak condition, they would starve to death because they never learned to properly hunt, or they would just return back to an urban environment. Also, I imagine that the time and resources to transport the deer into a more proper habitat would cost the city way too much money. So if there is no other option, I would go along with having the animals trapped and euthanized…just please don’t distribute their meat.
While urban deer cause a mess in our neighborhoods and eat our pumpkins/flowers/plants, this is not the main reason why we need to lower the population. Bottom line, they are a safety hazard. They cause way too many automobile accidents and negatively impact the lives of many people.
So until the city passes legislation to get this problem under control, I will let the urban deer continue to entertain and put a smile on the faces of my friends who come visit me from the west who think that deer in my neighborhood is the coolest thing they have ever seen.  But once some type of ordinance is put into place, I will be more than happy to lay out some of those traps. Don’t Blink.

Social Media Rapid Response = Bad Idea

I heard it all through my childhood, drilled into my head by my parents and teachers throughout the years: Think before you speak. I think I have taken their advice to heart and I try my best to not make any ill-advised or spur of the moment statements that result strictly from passion. As I am a very quiet person by nature, when it comes to face-to-face confrontation, I am pretty good at not making regrettable comments.

However, thanks to the proliferation of social media over the recent years, the shy guy like me now has the option to spout off heat of the moment statements whenever a Facebook status update or tweet appears that I don’t like. Thankfully, because I work in a position where I deal very regularly with social media and see the good and ugly involved with it, I usually stay away from these tempting, but unforgiving, opportunities.
As a society living in the twenty-first century with social media as a very valuable tool, we need to hold ourselves accountable the exact same way we do in other social situations. Mainly, we need to refrain from typing rash comments without thinking. Now I have posted about people using social media to cause drama or to offer their lame ideologies and drawn out opinions when it comes to athletics but this is a whole different topic. Again, tonight I am specifically talking about not giving into the temptation of immediately posting whatever comes to mind.
We all know it and feel it but let me state the obvious…everyone feels a lot stronger and cooler behind a computer or an iPhone.  Ego goes up and accountability goes down. When a status, a picture, or a tweet appears on the screen that you might not agree with or appreciate, it really becomes all too hard not to say something. I mean might as well stand up for what you believe in and take on the hero role, right? Who knows, your witty comment/reply could get a whole bunch of “likes” or retweets. The problem is, when you respond with the first thought or opinion that comes to your head, you usually come off as angry, bitter, and not very smart.

Because as part of my job I manage a social media network with over 100,000 people in constant dialogue about a very passionate subject, I see people make fools out of themselves all the time.  Usually when someone makes a dumb remark, I will let the online community police it themselves and put the person in their place. After all, I am very fortunate to have a majority of classy, intelligent users who make up our audience. Only when someone makes a comment that is so off base and egregious will I step in as the administrator and set the record straight.

Even though I could call on several examples from what I do professionally, I would rather just keep it more general. When posting any comment on a social media platform, do it carefully and tactfully. If it is an issue that you are very passionate about, clearly think about what you want to say before you start typing away. Once you know exactly what you want to get across, I suggest typing out the comment on a Word document. By doing this you will protect against sending something accidentally when you don’t intend to AND protect against spelling/grammatical errors. There is nothing that makes a person look more like a dumbass than when they post something that is filled with anger and spelling mistakes.

Once you have crafted your message, sit on it a little bit before pasting it into whatever social media platform you are using. When it comes to e-mail, my boss always says to wait a full day after composing an e-mail that expresses anger/disappointment/controversy before actually sending it. Because social media issues are a little more timely as dialogue moves much faster, I suggest waiting an hour before sending out your thoughts. I know this might seem like overkill for a 160 character opinion or a Facebook status comment but in reality it is not. Remember, you are dealing with your reputation.

Just a few points:
Do delete a Facebook comment you make that is stupid. If you unfortunately post something that you should not have, or something that is inaccurate, get rid of it. Yes, you still will take heat for posting it and you do concede defeat when you take down your comment but it is better than leaving it up there for people to continue to see. Side Note: My friend Chris (another person who monitors lots of social media) and I have a tally going on the number of people who rescind their comments by deleting them after they are presented with the facts…just a small victory for us.
Don’t immediately cast judgment as live events unfold. This point usually pertains to sporting events. Many times a bang-bang play will occur that is very close and people will immediately jump to Twitter or Facebook to complain that a bad call was made, especially if they happen to be at the event in person and do not have all of the television replays at their disposal. Don’t be that guy who blasts an umpire or referee when in fact the right call was made. That is just embarrassing.
Do keep comments positive as much as possible. If you do have the need to post about something immediately, make sure it is positive. Always cast your comments and posts in an optimistic light. Do your best not to come across as bitter. Stay away from commenting on posts that already have a negative slant. Remember, split second negative responses rarely come out eloquently.
Don’t talk about a situation or topic that you know nothing about. I can’t stress this one enough. This applies not just for posting on a whim but for posting period. Stick to what you know. Never try to interpret another person’s posts either, especially if it is someone you don’t know. Again, there is no honor in volunteering your input on something you don’t have a clue about.

Keep utilizing social media for the many good things it offers. Don’t feel like you have to be the first person to comment or tweet. Remember, there is no one sitting next to you with a gun to your head forcing you to immediately post something while you sit at your computer or dabble on your iPhone. Take it easy and take it slow. Don’t Blink.

Thanks, Jim

Last Thursday was a very dark and sad day for my place of work, a day that negatively impacted myself and every single employee in The University of Montana Athletic Department. In what seemed like the biggest punch in the gut one could get, we learned that morning in a last minute mandatory meeting that our athletic director and head football coach had been let go. To see two outstanding individuals ousted so fast sickened us all. I will not address the reasoning (or lack thereof) or my opinion of the terminations in this post because I have absolutely no business doing so. However, what I will address is my admiration and respect for Jim O’Day, the man who served as athletic director for Grizzly Athletics for eight years. In this tribute to Jim, I want to share why he was such a great boss and an even better person.

Let me start off broadly by saying that Jim O’Day was extremely effective as an athletic director. In order to be a great boss you must excel at your own job and responsibilities and Jim mastered this. He presided over an era in Grizzly Athletics that saw unparalleled success. On the field, majority of our teams experienced great results. Big Sky Conference titles, NCAA Tournament appearances, and FCS title games were abundant. Academically, a new bar was established. Under Jim’s watch, two Presidents Cup trophies (most prestigious award in our conference that combines academic and athletic success) were claimed by Montana. Several new building projects were started and finished. Montana separated itself from our rival, Montana State. Jim expanded the reach of our university by honorably serving on many prestigious national committees and boards. Student athletes took a much larger role becoming active in the Missoula community and making a difference. Jim sniffed out the shifting trend in intercollegiate athletics in regards to social media and he made sure that Montana did not get left behind. He also took an athletic department that had suffered some wounds financially right when he inherited the job and turned it into a money-maker. In all ways, he grabbed control of the department and made it prosper.

In order to be a great boss you need the personal achievements that Jim undoubtedly had but you also need something else: leadership. Jim O’Day was a leader in every sense of the word. People gravitated towards him. Always visible and available despite a ridiculous schedule, there was never a doubt on who was running Grizzly Athletics. Jim had a gift for talking in front of people and whether it was in a meeting, a banquet, an interview,  or a one-on-one conference, he spoke eloquently and confidently. Always encouraging his staff to keep checklists and stay on task, he offered us the guidance and resources to succeed. Leaders don’t limit their staffs, they let them grow and Jim did that. Despite having an unwavering loyalty towards his staff, he also demonstrated leadership to all of us by how he interacted with people who had different viewpoints and agendas from the athletic department’s. During times where I would have liked to just blow off a person, group, or entity that I felt was not worth our time or trouble, Jim would not leave them in the dark and would not allow us to either. He taught me how important it is for a leader to not burn bridges and to always nourish relationships, no matter how unbalanced or stressful they might seem.

While Jim was a leader, he was also a servant. He gave so much to the state, the Missoula community, The University of Montana, and most importantly to him, Grizzly Athletics. There was no one who was more selfless with their time and resources than Jim. Every function, every fundraiser, every funeral, every wedding, every graduation party, and every cause that Jim could attend, he would. He gave everything he had to support what he loved most. You asked Jim to do something, he would do it. There was no such thing as being “too busy” for him. If someone from several years back needed a letter of recommendation, they would get it. If an athlete from long ago wanted recognition in our hall of champions, Jim would make sure he/she would get in. If someone wanted a poster or a t-shirt, he would make sure their request got filled. Make no mistake about it, Jim could have easily and rightfully gotten away with concentrating more on his important leadership duties but that was not him…he always wanted to give back and to serve.
A big part of why Jim was so successful and so loved was because he was such a genuine people person. If you live in Missoula, over the past few days you have probably heard plenty of stories from people talking about what a nice and caring man Jim is. The guy pretty much knew every person in the state, no one was beneath him. He knew the name of every single athlete in our department. He knew the names of my interns and would always take the time to talk to them and engage them in a meaningful conversation. If you went out to dinner with Jim O’Day you better have been ready for an onslaught of random people coming up to the table and shaking his hand. He was a legitimate celebrity without the ego. When someone came up and talked to Jim I would watch him make the person feel like a god and put a smile on his/her face. I would sometimes then ask Jim who the person was and Jim would respond with the person’s name, hometown, occupation, and family details. The stuff he retained in his head was incredible. No one who actually knew Jim disliked him.

The main reason why Jim was such an effective boss? (You know, besides being extremely effective, a great leader, a selfless servant, and a people person). It is because of the man’s class and integrity. No one can touch that…not the media, not critics, not a university president.  Jim did what was right at all times. He never cheated or looked for a short cut. He was first to congratulate a coach or player who defeated a Griz team and he never looked to embarrass an opponent or adversary.  Jim knew he was the walking billboard for Grizzly Athletics and he safeguarded it with every ounce of his being. In an industry where high profile athletic directors and head coaches take on egos and personalities that set them apart from others, Jim did just the opposite. Jim stayed true to his classy nature to the very end. In that terrible meeting he stayed strong the whole time, telling us to do the same and stick together. He didn’t take any parting shots, he didn’t criticize the decision. When he came down to say goodbye to us in the marketing department he kept it together when none of us could. Again, he echoed the same message, stay strong.

I already miss Jim. I miss him telling me “good job” for doing the most remedial tasks. I miss the “nice work” e-mails for completing the more challenging tasks. I miss watching him shake the hand of every athlete and coach as they walk off the field or court. I miss him coming downstairs into our offices and checking up on us and telling us to “get to work.” I miss him starting up conversations with me based on the stupid stuff I posted on my Twitter account. I miss the jokes and laughs we would have as a staff at his expense. I miss the dinners we would all share together after games. I miss his sense of humor and positive attitude.

I miss the best boss I ever had. Don’t Blink.