An Amazing Day in Grizzly Athletics

Last week, in my mind I envisioned writing a recap of the crazy four days of dual Big Sky Conference tournament madness that I got to have a front row seat for. But, things happen and you change your mind.

I mean heck, I very well could have stayed true to my initial plan. I could have wrote about the 14 teams, the 12 games, the long days, the team personnel, the conference personnel, the fans, the crazy plays, the storylines, the promotions, the long nights, the challenge to keep the music fresh, the battle to stay awake, the task to block my hunger out, the duty to answer every question I received accurately, the obligation to stay neutral, and so on and so on.

But again, things happen and you change your mind.

Instead of composing a long, drawn out blog post covering my four days working the Big Sky Conference tournaments, I knew driving out of the arena parking lot late Saturday evening that I needed to do something different. While all four days were cool, nothing came close to how special and sweet that last day was. Championship Saturday at the Big Sky Conference tournament in 2013 will go down as one of the best, and most magical, days in Griz history. It deserves recognition all by itself.

My brother traveled to Missoula for Championship Saturday.

My brother traveled to Missoula for Championship Saturday.


Going into Saturday we already had the best case scenario. Both the Lady Griz and Griz basketball teams took care of business in the semis and had dates in the conference championship games with bids to the NCAA tournament on the line. However, the best case scenario in the morning didn’t count for much except that we would have great ticket sales. In all reality, both Montana teams could have dropped the championship games to very good opposing squads. Both the Northern Colorado women and the Weber State men were #2 seeds and had both beaten their respective Montana opponents once already. So while a good feeling circulated at the start of the day, we all knew that it could be replaced with disappointment come the end of it. The only thing to do was play the games out one at a time.

The Lady Griz took the court 100% focused on Saturday afternoon. Giving me a new playlist to cycle through during warm ups, the team was on a mission. The women didn’t really need to get fired up much more but during the National Anthem they did….as a surprise to our fans, we lit off fireworks during and after the Star Spangled banner. I think I am just getting more sensitive in my older age because when the fireworks went off, my eyes got watery. Here we were at The University of Montana, pulling out all the stops to make this experience for all involved as memorable as possible. The fireworks were beautiful, impactful, and for many, unexpected. It raised the adrenaline of not just the players, but everyone in the building.

The fireworks were spectacular.

The fireworks were spectacular.

Montana came out and just kicked butt. The same focus and intensity in warm ups carried over to the game. I had never seen so much emotion out of the team before. While scoring efficiently and shutting down Northern Colorado’s best player, D’shara Strange, the Lady Griz never trailed in the game and won 70-56. In yet another example of striving to make the tournament as special as possible, confetti fell from up above on to the Dahlberg Arena floor. The Lady Griz went from losing in the opening round of the tourney last year to champions of it this year. The players celebrated, Robin Selvig smiled, and the Lady Griz punched a ticket to the NCAA tournament.



I think after the Lady Griz victory, some weight was lifted off the shoulders of a lot of us. We knew we would not get shut out on our home floor. We knew at least one team was going dancing.

During the short period after the Lady Griz game and the start of the men’s championship game, the reality of possibly having both teams going to the NCAA tournament seemed real for the first time. The whole last half of the season I thought about how cool it would be for it to happen, but I knew so many things had to fall in place for it to be a reality. With the women advancing to the Big Dance, only one win was needed to send both basketball programs to the most prestigious collegiate competition there is.

Of course, that “one win” was going to be maybe the toughest of the season.

We have an amazing group of seniors on the Lady Griz.

We have an amazing group of seniors on the Lady Griz.


One word to describe the atmosphere of Dahlberg Arena on Saturday night: Electric. Fans packed the place. Students crammed into the bottom section behind the north basket and overflowed the upper section. Two bands (ours and Weber State’s) went back and forth filling the place with sound. Natalie Jones belted out the National Anthem while fireworks once again blasted through the air. Everybody’s hands went UP when I played “All I Do Is Win.” Come tip off, you couldn’t hear yourself think. Finally, the ref threw the ball in the air and the game started.

The Griz got off to a great start, building a 9 point lead at one time in the first half. However, Weber State clawed back and once halftime hit, the score was tied at 34. After the Super Skippers and UM Dance Team performed during the break, Montana and Weber State came out to play the 24th and final half that had been played on the Dahlberg Arena floor over the last four days.

The first five minutes of the first half went back and forth before Weber State went on a run to lead by five with 12 minutes left. However, the Griz never panicked and with five minutes left, the game was once again changing leads.

Wayne Tinkle was named Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year today. It is no surprise. Coach guided the team through those final minutes and despite some big shots by Weber they could not top Montana. At about the 20 second mark when it became apparent that the Griz would hold on, I left my place at the music table to get ready to go out on the court to cover the celebration. After Weber’s last second half court desperation three-pointer fell short, I hugged our athletic director who was standing right next to me and then ran out on the floor, taking pictures and video of the mosh pit at center court created by the UM student body who had rushed the hardwood. Just like the women’s post-game celebration, confetti fell, awards were given out, nets were cut down, and a ticket to the NCAA tournament was punched.

Members of the Griz basketball team celebrating after the game.

Members of the Griz basketball team celebrating after the game.


Two championships and two tickets to the Big Dance on one floor during one day. For a department and a community that has sufferered their fair share of blows over the past 12 months, we needed this. On Saturday, March 16, Grizzly Athletics once again proved that it is the cream of the crop in the Big Sky Conference, perhaps in one of the most dominating fashions ever. The day that Montana punched two tickets to the NCAA tournament on its home court will be remembered and talked about for a long time. The ten games I worked to get to the point of the two championship games? Absolutely worth it…I would have worked 200 games to be a part of what transpired on Saturday. Don’t Blink.



Basketball Heaven

Recently I wrote about how much I adore March. While going over the many reasons why the month is so spectacular, I specifically mentioned Championship Week for college basketball. This great week where conference tournaments are played to decide which teams will receive automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament is one of my favorite times of the year. After expressing my fondness for Championship Week in my post, I mentioned something that could make it even better.

This basketball season, Griz Nation has been absolutely spoiled by the two Montana basketball programs. Both the Griz and Lady Griz played stellar throughout the whole regular season. Dominating conference play and competing with heart and class, both teams found themselves entering the last weekend of the Big Sky Conference regular season in first place and in control of their own destinies. Like they had done all year long, both teams delivered and captured Big Sky Conference titles in the past few days. With the Montana sweep of both Big Sky Conference basketball races, it gives us at Grizzly Athletics the pleasure to hold both conference tournaments in Dahlberg Arena.

Last night  our mens team won the Big Sky Conference regular season title.

Last night our mens team won the Big Sky Conference regular season title.

Of course, that “something that could make it even better” about Championship Week was getting the opportunity to directly contribute to it and host a tournament. Well, we are not just hosting “a” tournament, we are hosting TWO tournaments! The amount of excitement and enthusiasm around the athletic department right now is insane. To see our teams play so well throughout the whole season and see it rewarded with a couple of hosting bids makes us all very proud. To know that we get to host two first class competitions that will result in two teams receiving tickets to the greatest sport spectacle on the planet is really cool.

But the excitement and enthusiasm are not the only things that are insane around the department right now… the work load is too. Last year we hosted the men’s tournament when the field just included four teams. That alone was a lot of work. Now, in the newly expanded tournament format, both the men’s and women’s fields will have seven participating teams. Can you see how preparing for 14 teams each with their own fan bases, athletic staffs, media, spirit squads, and bands could prove a little stressful?

Christie and I last year after our mens team won the Big Sky Conference championship.

Christie and I last year after our mens team won the Big Sky Conference tournament championship.

There are practice times to set, hotel reservations to book, staffing issues to organize, ticketing plans to execute, transportation logistics to figure out, hospitality and media areas to set up, communication channels with participating schools to secure, accommodations for conference officials to organize, parking plans to put in place, locker room designations to plan out, marketing materials to create, and so much more.

Obviously, the work load falls on all of us working inside the Adams Center from ticketing to concessions to marketing to internal operations to sports information to the large number of people who hold game day jobs (P.A. announcer, ushers, spotters, child care providers, caterers, Griz Vision workers, etc. etc.). However, the burden doesn’t fall any heavier than on the shoulders of the two people who are really in charge of making sure this thing goes off without a hitch, Chuck Maes and Jean Gee. Chuck and Jean are our Associate Athletic Directors and are the tournament managers for the men’s and women’s competitions, respectively. Both Chuck and Jean must deal with the infinite number of details that play a part in these types of tournaments and effectively distribute responsibilities and roles to us staff members. Although these two have long in advance planned for these two tournaments, you can only do so much work ahead of time. When Saturday night ended and the tournament field was finally officially set, a whole new level of craziness set in.

Over four days, 12 games will be played in Dahlberg Arena. On Wednesday, we will host three women’s games in the opening round. Thursday we will host three men’s games. On Friday we will host four games as we will host the semis for both tourneys. On Saturday we will host the championship games. Guess what?! I get to work all 12 games! In fact, I will see every minute of action of both tournaments. I will have my usual courtside seat serving as the arena DJ and managing Griz Vision. I honestly can’t wait. Early on in the season I knew a dual hosting situation was very possible and I dreamed of how cool it would be…and now it is reality.

Making this whole tournament week even more special is that my dad and brother are coming over from Washington to watch the games on Friday and Saturday. My brother is on spring break and will make the long trip from Ellensburg and my dad will take a rare day off of work and make the trip from Spokane. To have my dad and brother in the stands for this very special time in Grizzly Athletics means a lot to me. I can’t wait for them to get swept up in the craziness and madness.

But enough about how special and fun this time is for our staff and for me personally, let’s talk about who really matters…the participating teams. I had such a satisfying feeling when it became official that we would host both tournaments. You see, when you get to the championship level of something, teams deserve to have the best possible. They deserve to compete in a fun and inviting environment. We offer that here in Missoula. We have a great arena, an involved and fun game day production, and a community that is extremely fired up about basketball right now. The teams coming here will get something special that they necessarily wouldn’t get if the tournament was hosted at a different place. I can’t thank our two basketball teams enough for playing like champions and giving us the opportunity to show off what we have going here in Missoula and treat the Big Sky Conference to a couple of great tournaments. Enjoy. Don’t Blink.

Sports Marketing at its Finest

We do a lot of cool, fun things in the marketing department at Grizzly Athletics. So many, in fact, that I don’t have the time to write about each one as they occur on a daily basis. However, when we do something extra cool, I do try to shine some light on it. This morning, Christie and I plus our army of interns set out on The University of Montana campus and hid 200 wallets over one of the most scenic places you can go to school at.

But before I go on about our morning, I do want to give credit to the inventor of this crazy idea. Kenny Dow, the marketing director at Portland State, thought up this concept while thinking of ways to increase attendance at Vikings’ sporting events. Don’t ask me how all the elements came to him but they did…and then he implemented it. Because Kenny’s idea had great success with the PSU students, and because he used to work for the Griz, and because Christie and I respect him so much, we borrowed his idea. Thanks, Kenny!

So what we did was we ordered a bunch of wallets for cheap. We then slapped Griz emblems on them and then we filled them with coupons for free frostys, free chili, free t-shirts, and a chance to win an i-pad (sorry for using the word “we”…I actually did diddly squat when it came to the preparation of the wallets…thank you interns!). In order for students to redeem the coupon for the free t-shirt and to receive entry into the drawing, they had to come to tonight’s Griz basketball game and turn in the wallets they found.

This morning at 7 a.m. we had seven of our eight interns show up to hide wallets. We met in our offices and then walked to The Oval, the center part of The University of Montana campus. After taking some pictures, the interns plus Christie divided into four teams of two people each. Each team took one of the four quadrants of the campus. Since I was the official photographer I acted as the rover and roamed from team to team, taking pictures and watching the hiding strategies of each group. Our marketing team hid wallets on benches, in trees, on the ground, under plants, and on top of signs. They hid them inside the library, the dining center, the University Center, the lecture halls, and the business building. They hid them in cacti, inside doors, and on statues. Yes, a great job was done by our team scattering the wallets in creative hiding places all across campus.

Our interns setting out to go wallet hunting!

Our interns setting out to go wallet hunting!

The interns met back in the office after the distribution of the wallets and they were all excited. They chatted happily about where they hid their wallets. They talked about encounters they had with the few people who were on campus at the time who had no idea what was going on. They explained why they either decided to hide their wallets in tough to find places or in spots where they would more easily be found. Everyone had a wonderful time this morning, including Christie and myself.

I am lucky to have such a great group of marketing interns!

I am lucky to have such a great group of marketing interns!

After the distribution of the wallets was complete, I transitioned into my main duty of the whole operation…connecting the promotion with social media! When we arrived back inside and out of the cold, I started to relay the rules and purpose of the wallet drop to our followers/fans on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Using lots of the photos I took, I tried to make sure that the students who had not found a wallet now had the heads up to find one while conveying at the same time to the students who had already found one what they needed to do to totally optimize their wallet discovery. After the ground rules were set, we started to have a little fun. We encouraged students who found a wallet to take a picture of them with it and then either post it on our Facebook page or Tweet it at us. Those who did so won one of our coveted social media t-shirts. We got a great response and once again it reinforced the power of Griz Social Media.

McKell and Andrew found a great spot to hide a wallet!

McKell and Andrew found a great spot to hide a wallet!

Finally, game time arrived. The student section filled up extremely fast as it was full fifteen minutes before the game was to tip off. From my vantage point at the music table, I could see lots of people with the shirts we were giving out for returned wallets. Things inside the arena started to pick up and I kind of forgot about the promotion for a little bit as I worked the game and watched our first place Grizzlies tangle with Sacramento State. But as things slowed down a little bit once the game entered the second half, I was able to quiz our intern Andrew on how many wallets were returned. When I asked him he said “Uh, only about 20.” Disappointment filled me. But then he added, “But we got a whole bunch of t-shirt slips back, well over 100.” You see, besides all the coupons we put in the wallet, we also put the basic rules of the promotion as well, much like the ones I put out in social media. However, on that sheet of paper we mistakenly omitted anything about students needing to return their wallets at the game in order to redeem their coupons/get entered to win the i-pad. So, what happened was that students found the wallets, took the goodies out of them, stashed the wallet in their apartment/dorm, and then just brought the paper coupons to the game. While we felt a little dumb because we would have definitely liked to get the wallets returned so we could just use them again next year instead of buying a bunch more, we got the satisfaction in knowing that the promotion worked. People found the wallets and then came to the game.

Word on the street is that the wallets did not last long at all after they were hidden.

Word on the street is that the wallets did not last long at all after they were hidden.

Right now as I write this, I only have Andrew’s estimation to go on in terms of quantifying our success. But soon I will have a more specific number to report and I will share it with you. The success of the wallet promotion combined with a great home win by the Griz and then topped off with the Lady Griz winning the Big Sky Conference championship has me grinning ear-to-ear right now. But what makes my smile extend even further is having the knowledge that our team of interns, working primarily free of charge, would sacrifice precious hours of sleep in their warm beds to help us hide wallets on a freezing Montana morning. Thank you so much Andrew, Brian, Gianna, Kylie, McKell, Mike, and Zach. Don’t Blink.

I had a great time hanging out with a great group of hard working, motivated young adults today.

I had a great time hanging out with a great group of hard working, motivated young adults today.

The Griz Intern Social Media Contest

One thing I have mentioned before that I covet about my job is having the opportunity to work with a group of 8-10 college students who serve as interns in the Marketing Department of Grizzly Athletics. I utilize our interns heavily when it comes to our social media program. However, even though many people equate social media with the word “fun”, I have to admit that much of what I have them do for me doesn’t constitute fun at all. Basically, I have them do a lot of adding, inviting, and deleting. Because of the monotonous and boring tasks I put them through, I try to give them at least one opportunity to let their creative juices flow and let them shine within Griz Social Media.

Christie and I with several of this year's interns

Christie and I with several of this year’s interns

For the second year in a row, I have instituted the Griz Intern Picture Challenge. To put it simply, this is a contest where our interns each submit one Griz related picture and battle it out for the most “likes” on our official Montana Grizzlies Facebook page.

That is the simple description of the contest. Of course there is so much more to it…….well, not really.

I presented the contest at our weekly intern meeting a week ago last Monday. I laid down the rules and told them that they had a week to brainstorm, capture, and then send me a picture that in some way relates to Grizzly Athletics. Because yesterday was President’s Day, I made the deadline today. Now that I have all the pictures in my possession, the fun can really begin.

Each weekday starting from today through the end of next week during the time period of 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., I will feature one of the intern’s photos on the Montana Grizzlies page, under the Montana Grizzlies name. From the exact time that I post each photo, that particular image will have exactly twenty-four hours to accrue the most “likes” possible. For example, I posted the first picture of the contest at 4:08 p.m. today. The picture is eligible to receive countable “likes” up until 4:08 p.m. on February 20. The second the deadline hits, I will record the total amount of “likes’ for that photo and that will count as the intern’s score.

This was the picture submitted by my intern Gianna. I ran this one today at 4:08 p.m. on our Facebook page.

This was the picture submitted by my intern Gianna. I ran this one today at 4:08 p.m. on our Facebook page.

Yesterday I randomly drew the order of when each intern will have his/her picture posted. Yes, everyone knows that some days and exact times of posting are more advantageous than others. My interns also know that news at the intercollegiate level breaks unpredictably and can result in a picture getting drowned out on the Facebook page immediately, even if it was only the lead story for fifteen minutes. So naturally some pictures will be in more of a position to succeed than others but it is just the luck of the draw and the nature of the contest.

Our Montana Grizzlies Facebook page has close to 80,000 likes. We have the most successful Facebook page at the FCS level and we beat out numerous other schools in the BCS ranks. None of the fans of our page know that the contest is going on. They simply will just see nice, creative pictures displayed around the same time for the next several days. If they like them, they will actually “like” them with the click of a mouse or a tap of a finger/thumb and participate in the contest unknowingly. Of course I encourage my interns to campaign for their pictures amongst their friends and family so I guess in that respect people outside our intern circle will get to know about the contest.

On Friday, March 8, the winner of the contest will be announced via our closed Griz Marketing Facebook group. The big prize for the winner? Free school for the duration of their education at UM? Full time job in our department? A special place in our Hall of Champions? No, no, and no. I will award the intern whose picture garners the most “likes” with a gift card to the restaurant of his/her choice. Definitely a small prize but at least it is something to strive for. After all, the biggest draw of this whole contest is just the opportunity to get one’s own photography up on a medium for thousands of people to see.

Last year, Steph won the competition. She chose a gift card to Iron Horse as her prize.

Last year, Steph won the competition. She chose a gift card to Iron Horse as her prize.

Of course I consider Griz Social Media the biggest winner in this whole ordeal. Fans love to see pictures, especially well-taken pictures that are creative and that take them behind the scenes. This contest feeds them for eight days. As everyone knows I LOVE to take pictures and I love to share many of the ones I take for Grizzly Athletics on our social media channels. However, I have a certain style. In life it is good to switch up techniques every once in a while and get a fresh take. That is what makes this contest so valuable. It is not my work…it is the work of the interns. Fans get to see a different angle besides the one that is coming from me or the one that is coming from our university photographer. True, some interns submitted better pictures than others but I guess that is not even for me to decide, it is rather a decision for Griz Nation.

I invite you all to follow the Griz Intern Picture Challenge the rest of this week and all of next week through the official Facebook page of Grizzly Athletics. Enjoy the photos and make sure to “like” the ones that you feel are deserving. Don’t Blink.

Off to Orlando

Today I will spend most of my time in the sky and at airports as I make the trek across the country to Orlando, Florida, for a work related trip. I look forward to mid-seventies weather and a break from this arctic cold.

If you live in Missoula, please make sure to attend the basketball games! The Griz play Southern Utah tonight at 7 p.m. in Dahlberg Arena. Then the big day is Saturday as Retro Griz-Cat basketball takes center stage. The Lady Griz take on MSU at 3 p.m. and the Griz face the Bobcats at 7 p.m. Both Montana squads will wear throwback uniforms.

While in Orlando I will be taking a break from Don’t Blink, Facebook, and Twitter (except for my Quote of the Day). However, I will be back on Monday. Enjoy the long weekend everyone, be safe, and most importantly, GO GRIZ! Don’t Blink.

Bringing Out the Throwbacks

I am always quite fond of bragging about my job and getting overly excited about the cool things I get to do for it. This morning I once again had a smile stretching from ear to ear as I watched two of our basketball players, one male athlete and one female athlete, participate in a mini photo shoot on our arena floor. Sporting copper and gold jerseys last worn in the mid 1990’s, our university photographer snapped several shots of our two athletes in the throwback gear that themselves and the rest of their teammates will wear on January 19 when we host Griz-Cat retro style.

Don't these throwbacks looks sharp?

Don’t these throwbacks looks sharp?

I could hardly contain my own excitement looking at our two players suited up in their sharp looking old timer jerseys to bring myself to wait out the one hour window between the time that the pictures were taken to when our photographer uploaded the images to when our athletic director tweeted out the first glimpse of the retro glory to all of Griz Nation. But by the time our AD sent out his most important tweet yet on his day old account with about 40 other people following suit by retweeting it, my nervous excitement had leveled out and I could enjoy watching our fan base go nuts at the prospect of a Griz-Cat Basketball Saturday with one of the most exciting twists ever.

Behind the scenes at the throwback photo shoot.

Behind the scenes at the throwback photo shoot.

What is it about throwback jerseys? To be honest, I don’t think it is that much of a mystery. As I have written about before, people love to reminisce about the past. People like to look back at times that took place years ago and use their selective memories to blow up the positive images. One way to connect with these memories is through clothing, and specifically in sports, uniforms.

We certainly can’t accuse professional and intercollegiate officials and marketers for not recognizing this little fact about human nature. Throwback uniforms are a HUGE business. Every team seems to have at least one throwback night. People go wild in their seats when their favorite teams wear old uniforms and many go wild at the merchandise stand as well. I mean let’s be honest here, if you consider yourself a sports fan, I guarantee that you have at least a couple throwback apparel items in your closet.

Research shows that the demographic that really buys into the throwback theme is the younger generation, the people who barely remember a certain era or don’t remember it at all. I can totally attest to this! As a Mariners fan growing up I thought the old school inaugural logo of the anchor-like “M” placed in the star was the coolest thing ever. I had a hat and a couple shirts with the old mark and I felt the same excitement when the Mariners would don those old jerseys a couple times each year that I did this morning during the photo shoot. Never mind that the old sailor type logo was hideous, as I said before, we all have a grandiose outlook on the past. Things seemed better back when, even if they were actually not.

Like with any good thing, the use of throwbacks can be taken overboard. Some Major League Baseball teams will wear old school jerseys on a weekly basis while some teams have completely brought back their retro marks and reinstituted them as their primary logo. However, you won’t find any of that oversaturation at Grizzly Athletics. As fans know from football, bringing back the old colors is a very uncommon occurrence, something that happens only on special occasions. Everyone in Montana knows that when the copper and gold comes out it is big time. Because of this, there are a lot of people counting down the days until January 19. Don’t Blink.

Brawl of the Wild 2012

Some might mistakenly believe that last week was the biggest week in Montana with several crucial elections taking place to decide our state leaders. However, people who actually live in the state and realize what’s up know that this week is by a large margin the marquee week of the year. Welcome to Griz-Cat week.

This Saturday, the Montana Grizzlies will host the Montana State Bobcats in the 112th Brawl of the Wild. I am not writing this post to say that this rivalry trumps other rivalries in college football. In fact, I know there are several rivalries that are longer-standing, more important to the NCAA football landscape, and more people-encompassing. Likewise, I am not writing this post to throw out rivalry clichés and tell terrible rivalry jokes. Everyone can say that “anything can happen in a rivalry game,” and to “throw out all records come Saturday” and everyone can uncreatively insert Team A into a space and Team B into another space to retell some of the lamest, most overused jokes in sports. Make it be known, I am not writing this post to signal out this rivalry amongst others or to get cute.

I am writing tonight to convey two things: First, I want to briefly touch on how important this game is to the state of Montana. Second, I want to explain how this is one of the best weeks to be part of Grizzly Athletics.

Again, as I mentioned above, I am not going to rank this rivalry or match it up against the countless others in the country. Rather, I just want to talk about what it means to the people who actually experience it, the people who live in the great state of Montana. With no major professional sports teams and only two major state colleges, the annual Brawl of the Wild is a match up between the two powers of the state. Fans bring their Grizzly/Bobcat allegiances that they have developed over the years from their family, friends, and geographic location and pour it all into this week, culminating in a football game on Saturday. People in this state grew up to like one school and hate the other. This is not Texas or California where numerous universities battle for state supremacy only in the end to have no clear victor. In Montana, it comes down to one game at the end of the season…every single year. It is completely black and white…your team either wins the game and gains state supremacy or loses the game and is the #2 team for the whole year. With both Montana and Montana State, much more is at stake than just a win or loss for the football teams. Attached to the final score, each school has its own politics, ideologies, and culture riding as well. The Brawl of the Wild is not going to attract ESPN College Gameday and it is not going to have BCS bowl implications riding on it but to the people of Montana, it is the event of the year.

Personally, I am as psyched as any sports fanatic can be for this week. As I said, this football game is the event of the year in Montana and how lucky am I that I get to have a hand in making it happen? Our Grizzly Athletics staff does this game right and Saturday is going to be a blast. Nothing beats the buildup in our department that occurs as each day passes getting us closer to kickoff. Right now, all eyes are on Missoula. Making this week even better, we have two basketball games as well. The Lady Griz play tomorrow night and the men play Minot State on Wednesday. Not a bad week at all on the campus of The University of Montana! When it comes to this blog I have become a broken record but I am truly blessed to have the great job that I do.

Christie and I at the 2011 Brawl of the Wild in Bozeman. The Griz dominated the Cats, 36-10..

Griz-Cat means a lot to me. Last year I had one of the best experiences in my time with Grizzly Athletics. In the 111th Brawl of the Wild, our football team marched into Bozeman and demolished Montana State, 36-10. Ranked #1 at the time, the Bobcats had no answer for the Griz. Standing on those sidelines and watching the joy on the faces of our student-athletes and the coaching staff in the winding seconds of the game brought a great sense of pride to me that I still carry today. The Montana Grizzlies currently hold a dominating advantage in the series with Montana State at 70-36-5 and have a great shot to get win #71 this Saturday. Have a great Griz-Cat week everyone! Don’t Blink.

The Griz celebrating with the beautiful score visible in the background.


Next Stop: North Dakota!

It is time to hit the road again on another Griz football adventure. This week finds Jimmy and I heading off to Grand Forks, North Dakota, where we will start making preparations for Montana to kickoff against the University of North Dakota inside the Alerus Center this Saturday.

I am excited for this week’s trip as I have never touched the soil of North Dakota before. Thursday and Friday call for temperatures in the high forties with a good chance of rain and plenty of wind. However, it is supposed to be gorgeous for gameday as Saturday’s forecast predicts sunny skies and temperatures in the high fifties. Not that it matters though, North Dakota plays its home games in an arena.

We fly out of Missoula at 2:30pm today and have a layover in Minneapolis. We are due at the Grand Forks airport at around 11pm central time tonight. Should be another great experience. As per usual, I will be taking a break from social media over the next few days. See you all on Sunday and GO GRIZ! Don’t Blink.