As someone who loves history and as someone who loves to write out detailed daily records, I take great appreciation in a priceless resource we have available at Grizzly Athletics. While I think I have showed commitment by writing out a thorough summary of every day I have lived for the past fourteen years, I am quickly put to shame by a legend who kept handwritten records on a much larger scale for 43 years.
My office is right next door to the office of our Sports Information Director, Dave Guffey. In his own right, Dave is a legend himself in Grizzly Athletics having served as our SID for 35 years. It only makes sense then that one legend cares for the work of the other. The other day Dave and I were talking in his office about something that I can’t even remember but it led him to exclaim “Let’s check out the Red Book!”
He then went to the end of his office to a book shelf and pulled out the greatest representation of Grizzly Athletics history, the Red Book. Because the thing is so large and weighs so much, I felt some concern as Dave lifted it from the shelf and transported it over to his desk (but he managed just fine). He opened the encyclopedia and investigated the issue at hand. Because of the clarity and the magnificent organization of the book he found the info we were looking for within seconds. The two of us then engaged in a conversation over how remarkable the book is.
Jiggs Dahlberg was a student-athlete, coach, and athletic director at the University of Montana. He guided the men’s basketball program for many years and holds the school record for most wins. Our basketball arena is named after him. Besides the three roles I mentioned that he held you can also add a fourth: Historian.
In 1937, Dahlberg started to write in the Red Book. He reached all the way back to 1897 and started his record keeping there and then updated it all the way through 1937. At thay point he dutifully updated it on a regular basis throughout his whole tenure with Grizzly Athletics and even through retirement, writing his last entry in 1980. As you can see from the image I took below of his last entry, he filled up 963 enormous pages with schedules, stats, rosters, summaries, and more detailing the history of all sports within Grizzly Athletics. In fact, he wrote more than that as at the end of the book you will find “bonus pages” filled with the names of award winners. Jiggs filled up over half the book, as its numbered pages extends past 1,500.
As Dave and I talked he had me flip to various spots in the book. He sent me to the page chronicling the 1948-49 men’s basketball team that had a spectacular year. Guff and I got a chuckle out of some of the opponents the Griz played that year as they racked up a couple of wins against AAU teams in midseason. He also turned my attention to some of the season summaries that Jiggs would pen. Brutally honest while at the same time giving credit where credit was due, Dahlberg wrote out a thoughtful and accurate recap of each individual sports season in Grizzly Athletics from 1897 through 1980. Dave then had me flip to Dahlberg’s last entry where he wrote that at 82 years old, he felt a younger person should take over the duties of recording the history of Grizzly Athletics in the Red Book. As electronic records became dominant in the industry, that younger person never wrote a single word in the Red Book. To this day, every written letter in those pages is from Jiggs Dahlberg.
The care, depth, and accuracy of the Red Book is amazing. It is a true historic gem. It got me wondering how many thousands of hours Dahlberg devoted to its contents. It also validated my reasoning for keeping the meticulous records that I do of my life. As Dave and I thumbed through the pages and enjoyed the historical work of Jiggs Dahlberg, I too hope that one day my future kids and relatives will be able to look through the work that I have done and find similar enjoyment. Thank you Jiggs Dahlberg for your amazing historical contribution to Grizzly Athletics. Don’t Blink