Thursday Night Lights Rundown

Good evening to you all! No time for small talk because I have a football game to work, so let’s get right to the latest Thursday Rundown…

Thursday Night Lights – Obviously I just can’t mention something in the introduction and not explain it. This evening, the Coastal football team will host Liberty at 7 p.m. in Brooks Stadium. The fact that it is a Thursday night game is interesting in and of itself, but here are a few more things adding intrigue to it for me. First, the game will be nationally televised on ESPNEWS. Second, it is a rivalry game and most likely the last time the Chants will play Liberty for quite some time because of the move to the FBS. Finally, a Coastal Carolina win could help the Montana Grizzlies (who I still root for) make the FCS Playoffs. Should be an interesting night.

Baby Update – Sidney is now at the halfway point of her pregnancy, and, (drum roll)…..we now know the gender of our new baby!! You better believe that Sid is already on the internet looking at items and themes that will fit with the daughter/son we will have in less than five months. It is a very exciting time and Sidney is feeling great (stay tuned down the road for a gender announcement).

A Unified National Anthem – The Kent State men’s basketball team came up with a powerful way to promote respect during the Star Spangled Banner. Last night before the team’s latest game, the players went into the stands and each invited a fan out on the court to stand with them for the anthem. It was a touching and proud tribute. Because it went so well, the Golden Eagles will do this at every home game this season. Please read the story to see some of the great quotes from the student-athletes but the overrall message was that the display was about community unity. Well done!

The Great Gatsby – Last night, “The Great Gatsby” (Tobey Maguire/Leonardo DiCaprio version) was on television. I had never seen the film before so I decided to watch some of it. OMG, the party scenes are incredible. The colors, the costumes, and the extravagance were all pretty spectacualr. The people behind that movie really did a great job making it. However, I never realized that the famous Leonardo DiCaprio meme backdrop was taken from “The Great Gastsy.” It was kind of weird to see the image I have seen about a million times over the internet actually in context right in front of me on my TV.

This is the infamous Leonardo DiCaprio meme. I had no idea it was from "The Great Gatsby" until last night.

This is the infamous Leonardo DiCaprio meme. I had no idea it was from “The Great Gatsby” until last night.

From the Archives – Although I have written a lot of garbage in my time, I kind of like some of the posts I have penned on November 17 in the past. In 2015, I described the ten mistakes social media professionals make (yes, plenty of homemade memes are involved). In 2014, I paid tribute to former Griz football coach Mick Delaney. Then, on Nov. 17, 2013, I wrote about what makes the #GrizCat Brawl of the Wild football game so passionate and special. For once I actually encourage you to click on these links.

This is one of the memes from Nov. 17, 2015. Follow the link above to see all 10! Remember, social media pros can never be found asleep on the job.

This is one of the memes from Nov. 17, 2015. Follow the link above to see all 10! Remember, social media pros can never be found asleep on the job.


If you aren’t in Brooks Stadium tonight, make sure to tune in on ESPNEWS. Also, remember to rejoice…we are just a week away from Thanksgiving. Don’t Blink.

To Everyone at Grizzly Athletics: THANK YOU

Earlier today I walked out of the Adams Center for the final time, ending an almost five year ride with Grizzly Athletics. I like to think I left a small part of me behind. With the long hours I worked and the contributions I made I hope I left the department better than when I arrived. But this blog post is not about me (By the way, for all I know my employers could have thrown a celebration party after my car drove out of the parking lot). Rather, this post is to say thank you to the people who supported me, helped me, and listened to me. It is to show gratitude to those individuals who believed in me and let me grow. It is to recognize my co-workers and bosses who helped make me look good and who always took my best interests to heart.

First and foremost I want to thank Christie Anderson. She hired me, she believed in me, she mentored me. Without Christie I would not be where I am at today. I learned everything I know about marketing in intercollegiate athletics from her. For over a year before we got more suitable offices I sat behind Christie and observed everything she did. What an awesome learning experience! I have so many memories with Christie whether it be going on trips, working games, or doing things totally unrelated to work such as going to concerts or bowling.

Next up I want to thank Jim O’Day. My first role model in the college athletics world he treated me with so much respect and kindness. He knew about the power of social media long before many other college administrators even knew what the phrase meant and he gave me the green light to take Grizzly Athletics full throttle down the new media avenue. Two years ago on that terrible day when he had the rug pulled out from underneath him I will never forget the address he gave us at the hastily called all-staff meeting. He epitomized class and humility in a very dark moment and that will always stay with me.

I owe so much gratitude to Brynn Molloy. She came into the Marketing Director position and just kicked butt. Definitely one of the most positive people I know I had a wonderful ten months working for her. We had such a solid working relationship based on collaboration and respect. She was there for me and I was there for her. She allowed me to continue to do my thing and always took the time to tell me good job. We came in each morning on fire for Grizzly Athletics and it made for a great work environment. It is no secret why everyone loves Brynn.

I don’t think I had a bigger supporter when it came to getting me to where I wanted to be than Greg Sundberg. Besides being the best leader I know, no one took the time to help me reach my goals more than Greg. He cares so much about his employees and brings the same positivity to the office each day in the same way Brynn does. I said Jim was my first role model in college athletics; after Greg started overseeing all external communications a couple years ago he became my second. “Sunny” played a big role in getting me to where I am now.

Then there is Kent Haslam…the third person I identify as a role model of mine in intercollegiate athletics. I was so happy and relieved when he got hired as our athletic director. You would be hard pressed to find someone with greater integrity than Kent. Over the past couple years he has been a great supporter of mine. Always sending recognition my way and 100% supportive of my decision to go to Coastal Carolina I feel very fortunate that our AD cared so much about me. Grizzly Athletics is in great hands.

Thank you to our sports information staff! I had the opportunity to work very closely with our legendary SID, Dave Guffey. I earned Dave’s respect and he treated me like a son. I will miss him a lot. I also feel like I got a lot from Joel Carlson (Assistant SID). No one writes better than Joel and I had the pleasure of reading award winning material from his desk on a daily basis. I know by paying attention to his techniques and style that it made me a better writer myself. Rounding out the staff is Renee Valley who never ceased to lend a helping hand when it came to making a few more credentials or helping me find something in the archive room.

I owe big thank yous to the people who generated much of the great content that I was able to use on our new media outlets to give our fan base a great experience. Nate Michael (Griz Vision producer) is an extremely talented individual and one of the best guys I know. Todd Goodrich (University of Montana photographer) works magic with the lens and pours a lot of his time into covering athletics. Jerek Wolcott (videographer, now at Idaho State) really started the video tradition at Grizzly Athletics and was a great friend of mine.

Thank you to our genius I.T. man, Aaron Heiner. This guy gave me a new perspective on what it is like to work under pressure. He also bailed me out of numerous situations involving technology on game days. Speaking of smart people, I couldn’t have succeeded at my job without the help of Chuck Maes. That man has a computer for a brain with incredible knowledge on how every device and piece of equipment under the name of Grizzly Athletics works. . Just like with Aaron, Chuck has helped me out many times when I needed quick assistance.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my office mate, Paul Hengel. Paul became a great friend of mine and provided me an example each day of what hard work is all about. No one works harder in the department or has more demanded of him than Mr. Paul. We got along great and our office arrangement couldn’t have worked out any better.

Much appreciation to Heather Alexander (business manager) who showed great patience towards me when I asked stupid questions or accidentally went away from protocol when completing a business transaction. I also am very thankful for how much she has made my transition between jobs easier. Heather, you better make good on your plans to visit Myrtle Beach during the summer of 2015!

Then there are just the people who have supported me so much during my time with Grizzly Athletics. I am talking about people like Janie Haight, Sue DeMers, Cyndi Steigers, and Celine Fisher. They have acted as moms to me and supported me since I have stepped foot in the Adams Center. I was overjoyed when my “Montana Moms” got to meet my real mom at my going-away party late last week.

I don’t want to forget about the coaches. I learned a lot about the crazy lives they live full of pressure, stress, and travel. Take it from me right here: Our “Big Three” head coaches (Robin Selvig, Wayne Tinkle, and Mick Delaney) are absolutely class acts. They are passionate for the Griz and are incredibly kind. Each one of those men took time to congratulate me when I announced that I was moving on. Special shout out to Griz softball coach Jamie Pinkerton who became a good friend of mine. I am sad that I will miss the first pitch in 2015. Also thank you to soccer head coach Mark Plakorus who always took time to talk to me and even attended my going-away party.

Finally, thank you to all the students I had the privilege of working with over the years. From our student-athletes to our Spirit Squad to our team of interns to our mascots I felt so fortunate working a job where I got to interact with young and motivated individuals on a daily basis. In the end my ultimate mission was to serve them and I felt so lucky that I was able to do just that.

The chapter is closed. I now move onto the next stage of my life at Coastal Carolina. However, I will always be indebted to the wonderful people at Grizzly Athletics who gave me my start. Please know I hold all of you in very high regard. THANK YOU. Don’t Blink.

Is My Vote Being Counted?

In just the past few short months, I have had the opportunity to conduct a couple of big time social media campaigns in support of some pretty well-known personalities within Grizzly Athletics. At the start of September and running through the end of football season, Monte competed in the Capital One Mascot Challenge. Currently going on right now, our head football coach Mick Delaney is a finalist in the FCS Coach of the Year running. Both of these competitions are decided entirely (Mascot Challenge) or partially (FCS Coach of the Year) by fan voting. A good social media program and an engaged fan base are both necessary to achieving success in these challenges.

Both Mick and Monte have had great years!

Both Mick and Monte have had great years!

Let me start off by saying this: Just having a horse in the race for both of these competitions is a tremendous honor and accomplishment. It brings a lot of good publicity and recognition to our program. It shines light on the great work that is being done inside Grizzly Athletics. The reward is great too. With the Capital One Challenge we got compensated handsomely and if things go well for us in the Coach of the Year race, local Missoula charities and our alumni association will receive a major boost. Overall it is a very, very good deal.

However, if I had the power to do so, I would like to change one thing: Disclosure of the votes! With both the Mascot Challenge and Coach of the Year race you have absolutely no idea the quantity of points/votes that separates one competitor from the other. Rather, you simply get either a percentage or a ranking system that tells you who is ahead. Okay, I understand that Monte currently trails the Pirate from East Carolina 53% to 47% but please put that into quantitative terms for me. How many more 100 point challenges must we exactly complete or how many times must we press that “VOTE” button until we make a dent in that gap. Or I can clearly see that Mick Delaney is fourth in the rankings but how many votes separate him from Craig Bohl who happens to occupy the first spot? my vote being counted?

Sooo…is my vote being counted?

In my selfish nature I want to know black and white numbers of what needs to be done to start moving up in the rankings. But even beyond my own desires, I want this info available more for our fans. Many Griz Nation fanatics spend literally hours voting non-stop. In my opinion they deserve some type of confirmation that they are/are not having an impact. When they pour so much effort into something and see that there is no change, there is an understandable sense of discouragement. It also paves way for conspiracy theories (i.e. Hey, I just spent my whole morning voting and completing challenges for Monte but nothing has changed. The sponsor of this contest secretly hates us and is not counting our votes).

Let’s put an end to this. If in fact someone in Butte who is voting non-stop is not gaining any traction because there are 5,000 people in East Lansing voting just as ferociously at the same time, let him or her see that reflected in a visible vote total. Or even though we can’t see any evidence of a campaign for the head coach of Southeastern Louisiana while everyone here in Montana makes sure to vote for Mick Delaney each day, please just disclose the voting numbers and let us see that Coach Roberts does in fact have an objective, legitimate vote lead on Mick.

In no way am I biting the hand that feeds me so to speak. As I mentioned at length above, I am incredibly grateful that the Grizzly Athletics is represented in these national campaigns. And in no way am I saying that Monte or Mick Delaney got screwed. I just want something that clearly paints a picture of where everyone stands in these high stakes contests. Let’s do it for the fans. Don’t Blink.

Emma Lommasson, Griz Weekend, and Bitter Cold

As I seem to do about once a week, tonight’s blog post will cover a few different topics that are relevant in the life of yours truly. I want to get you guys out of here quickly tonight so how about we get started?

Meeting a UM Legend: Today I had the opportunity to meet Emma Lommasson, an icon at the University of Montana. She started as a student at the university and worked her way up to become the assistant registrar. She will turn 102 in just a few days and is an absolutely fascinating lady.

I had the chance to be in her presence because our head football coach Mick Delaney paid her a surprise visit today. Organized by our radio man, Mick Holien, I tagged along to document the meeting between Coach Delaney and Emma. You would not have believed how happy and excited Ms. Lommasson was to meet Coach. As charming as ever, Mick chatted with a delighted Emma for about ten minutes. When he left to head off to practice, I snuck a picture with her. My great uncle lived to the ripe age of 101 but besides him I had never met another person in the century club until meeting Emma today.

Myself with the wonderful Emma Lommasson.

Myself with the wonderful Emma Lommasson.

Crazy Next Two Days: That nice long break I had last week is way back in the rear view mirror. Times are packed once again and Friday and Saturday will have me working non-stop. Tomorrow I will scramble to get ready for a football playoff game on Saturday while at the same time doing all I can to help get Griz Nation ready for a football playoff game on Saturday by getting them pumped and prepared for the big game via our new media outlets. But come 4 p.m. I will turn my attention from the gridiron to the hardwood as Grizzly Athletics hosts the Lady Griz Classic. Tomorrow night Appalachian State and UC Irvine will tip off at 5:30 p.m. followed by Montana and Idaho at 7:30 p.m. As usual I will have my seat in the northwest corner at the music table working away. By the time I get back to my office probably at around 10 p.m., I will return my focus back to football.

Saturday will be an extremely early morning as I hustle off to work to get ready for our FCS playoff game against Coastal Carolina. Once my morning prep work is completed it will be noon and that means kick off time. Once the football contest ends at around 3:30 p.m. I will be back in my office wrapping up the action in Washington-Grizzly Stadium and then getting ready for Night Two of the Lady Griz Classic. The first game tips off at around 6 p.m. and then the Lady Griz will play either App State or UC Irvine at 8:15 p.m. By the time the final buzzer sounds on that second game I will be very anxious to get home and hopefully look back on a successful day for the Griz.

Cold: Here in the Missoula area we are in the midst of a brutal cold front. The last couple days we have experienced single digit temperatures. Unfortunately, it is just going to get worse. The next two days call for even more extreme lows and the emergence of another factor…wind. It is going to get very nasty here in the Zoo.

Of course the storyline of Coastal Carolina coming from a warm climate to take on the Griz inside the ice bowl of Washington-Grizzly Stadium has managed to play itself out like no other this past week. Truth of the matter is, I really don’t see the cold impacting the players that much. For those of us who played outdoor sports, especially football, we know that once you hit the field and warm up you feel fine. Then you add in the adrenaline factor and you are good to go. I worry about our fans and game personnel who will brave the elements on Saturday. I have had a tough time staying outside for four minutes the past couple of days, let alone the four hours that everyone else will come kick off. While sitting up in the press box I will definitely have sympathy and a whole bunch of respect for the 20,000 Griz fanatics cheering loudly below me.


Have a wonderful weekend everyone. Stay warm and cheer loudly for the Griz! Don’t Blink.