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Long time journalist and familiar radio personality, Mick Holien provides introspective and thought-provoking insight, observations and opinions on a wide variety of topics every weekday on 750 KERR! 750AM and 93.9 FM


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A Special Homecoming Weekend

By Mick Holien

It turned out to be quite the Homecoming weekend for this Vox and about the time I thought it was over Sunday evening comes word that my pal Bill Moos is pulling up stakes from his Alma Mater in the Washington Palouse and assuming the Athletic Director position at the University of Nebraska. More about “Moose Kaaa” Tuesday.

The weekend began with a nice and appropriate memorial for our friend Chris Walterskirschen, probably Mr Trivia to most but my first stat guy for high school games starting in the early 80s.

Legally blind and fighting a host of other maladies he lived a memorable life filled with volunteerism and friendship.

The White Bear Society made it possible for me to tailgate prior to my game and what a great group of people gathered around the fire ring next to the footbridge.

A great friend saw to it that I had a ticket in the handicap section at the east side 50 but on my way former Griz defensive back Trey Young was hoisting the No.37 flag.

Playing from 99-02, he of course won a national title and played in another chipper and was the team MVP after his senior season.

I last saw Trey, who now lives in Seattle relocating from his home in San Diego, at defensive end Tim Bush’s funeral in Kellogg.

I’m sure Trey won’t mind but like Hall of Famer Michael Ray Richardson, he stuttered when he came to Missoula and thus was particularly uncomfortable doing interviews.

I told Trey that Michael Ray did not stammer or stutter when I got to know him and interviewed him long after his career and we set out to improve his speech.

Now this by no means was done professionally but just out of friendship and becoming comfortable with putting one word in front of another and easing his nervousness.

Year after year there was a profound difference and one of the joys of my broadcast career when he graduated I received the nicest letter from his parents about his improvement but that was even broadened Saturday when I got a several minute hug with my brother along with his sincere words of thanks.

While I don’t get to see Trey often I will always hold our friendship dear, cherish it and use our relationship that spans a generation as an example that race, creed or other factors have little to do with the quality of relationships.

Thanks to you brother - Now that’s what I’m talkin about – just sayin’ it was indeed quite a weekend.


By Mick Holien

You know there just are no givens – surely not in life where I and I am sure you have learned not to take anything for granted.

Surely not with family, with a job – how well I can attest to that – and certainly not with relationships no matter their status.

But when the wicked arm of injury strikes down a prospective top tier athlete twice in a career, I’ll here to tell you it is just cruel.

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What's In A Name

By Mick Holien

Seems like it is the baby season and I’m intrigued with the popularity of the names chosen and whether anybody now waits till birth to know a baby’s gender.

Now I have to admit when 12 years ago my daughter told me my newest grand daughter was named Aaliyah.

I didn’t think I had ever heard the name and wasn’t even sure whether I was pronouncing it correctly let alone knowing the name’s origin.

And how surprised I was I was told she was named after a singer/actress who was killed just before the 2001 terrorist attack in a plane crash at the age of 22.

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A Legend

By Mick Holien

The first year I made the trip to North Carolina for the state awards of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association being a newbee winner I had no expectations and really no idea what I was in for.

But it didn’t take long to figure out that not only the top of their craft were in attendance but also a long list of Hall of Famers in many sports rubbed shoulders during the three-day yearly affair.

And qualifying to attend was always a treat whether I made the trip or just was invited.

While folks like Joe Garagiolo, Jim Nance and Marty Brennaman were in attendance one other man drew my interest for most of the entire time.

But first of all who are these other folks.

Jim Nance of course is an several Emmy winner who anchors the PGA for CBS Sports and is the venerable voice of the Masters and other major events.

Since 1974 Brennaman has been the no-holds bared radio voice of the Cincinnati Reds and after a less than spectacular major league career Garagiola was been a longtime announcer and television host.

But while I’ll get around to talking about those folks, it is Bob Wolff that I counted my lucky stars who took me under his wing that first year. I think it was 1988.

He was sitting in the lobby of an old Holiday Inn in Salisbury with his wife Jane when he looked at my name tag and asked if it was my first convention and awards dinner.

I replied I was new to the electronic side and really was especially a novice to women’s basketball play-by-play.

For three days I sat with him during meals, including one in the luxury lounge at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and workshops and in the days prior to electronic info gathering had no idea I was talking to one of the most prominent men in the business.

Wolff, who died last summer at the age of 96, started his career in 1939 and broadcast a broad variety of sports in parts of eight decades.

But his manner left no impression of how famous he was – or that he broadcast Don Larson’s perfect game in 1956-or when he couldn’t get to the game he was known to improvise like describing what he saw on television.

One would have never known he was on the staff of Madison Square Garden for more than 50 years and count the NFL championship game between the Giants and the Colts as a pinnacle of his career.

His obit was featured on the front page of the New York Times and I count my conversations with Bob Wolff as one of the most prominent and enjoyable of my career.

During the convention time that I spent with him a reporter’s handbook was always in hand as he constantly scribbled notes to his assignment of the day, maybe to be slightly interrupted by the social side of the business.

But like with most old timers who often traveled with teams they were assigned to, the unprinted stories were often the most intriguing of the conversation.

Since I have come to know Larson and written about him several times, I was particularly interested in the World Series perfecto and his impressions of that fateful day.

When he was in Baltimore Larson roomed with one of my bowling buddies – Jim Dyck – who made the last out for the old St. Louis Browns, but oh that’s right that’s another story about Mr. Perfect and how he hates to be called that.

Just say’ n


Lost For A Day

By Mick Holien

I sure would have written this program a whole lot earlier than bedtime if I could have found both my notes and checkbook.

And even after the notes were discovered yet the checkbook continues to hide I changed the subject matter to tell you about this device that I hope will help my forgetfulness.

But then after writing that story I didn’t save it and it disappeared from my screen to be lost in that computer abyss that sometimes takes away my copy.

But as far as misplacing or losing things you can help me go searching for them.

This waste of time of trying to locate lost items, especially those like car keys, wallet, checkbook and remote, is driving me bonkers.

And since I had a birthday on Saturday and I’m not getting younger I suppose such a malady is even more worrisome as you consider whether something medically is taking place.

But first a couple of tips that I hope might make it easier for me.

Hiding things in a special place so as never to be forgotten does not work. Trying to remember that special place can do nothing but add aggravation to your efforts.

Forget about those sticky notes no matter how big or what color they are if they contain tasks more than 24 hours away.

It seems like after a day or so they are no longer sticky and end up floating away to that place you locate when you move your desk.

Now if you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder you can be assured you’ll probably misplace things at least once a day.

But I have found bringing in a friend for a pair of fresh eyes often produces positive results.

That has worked for me a couple of times this summer but then I’ve gone looking for my glasses only to be told they are on my forehead.

So I bought a Bluetooth “Track and Find “device at a cost of $24.95.

Advertised as the easiest way to find your valuables, I can’t wait to get it going.

You place one of the two small devices on what you want to locate when lost, you download the app from your app store.

When an alarmed device disappears basically you just push a button and listen for the location of the alarm.

But does it work. Who knows but gadget man is going to find out. just sayin’


Montana Football Hall of Fame

The third class to be inducted into the Montana Football Hall of Fame in March were announced in Bozeman Friday.

The illustrious nine-person group, who were feted as part of the unveiling of the organization’s permanent display at Universal Athletic in Bozeman, will receive official recognition at a banquet March 24 in Billings.

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By Mick Holien

The dust storm that closed I-15 for hours Saturday afternoon and early evening near Idaho Falls might have thrown a damper in the travel plans of the Montana Grizzlies but any Beachliner time could just serve to extend the team’s enjoyment of a second consecutive Big Sky Conference road victory.

According to head coach Bob Stitt’s comments on the post game show on Learfield bus time is nothing but beneficial to provide more team growth.

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The Weekend

By Mick Holien

I guess when you have been around a football program so long you always are going to encounter competitive situations with coaches that were brethren, so to speak, in another life.

And for me it has always been that way since Jerome Souers took the helm at Northern Arizona some 20 years ago.

He always seemed to have former UM players as key parts of his staff dating back to Bill Smith, Grizzly former defensive coordinator and a superb player in his own rite at Boise State where the field is named in honor of his father, a legendary Bronco coach.

But this year it all goes a bit deeper.

The Griz are headed on a Beachliner today for Pocatello to face an upstart Idaho State team that’s right in the middle of things in the Big Sky Conference.

And at the helm is former offensive coordinator Rob Phenicie, who is in his inaugural head coaching position.

Matt Troxel, who dad quarterbacked Montana in another life and also is the former Hellgate coach left Bob Stitt’s staff after a short stint last summer to take over the Bengal offense a better position than he occupied on Mike Kramer staff.

And add to that of course that former Grizzly defensive boss Ty Gregorak is over there in Bozeman chomping at the bit to get a win streak going the way of the Bobcats after the Missoula win last season.

If playing against your buddies and trying to hang one on them provides the utmost of satisfaction well it’s sure there for Montana for the next few weeks.

For Montana since they got rid of the league monkey in Oregon last week with a circuit road win, Saturday presents a great opportunity for some validation.

But the Bengals protected their home venue last week with quarterback Tanner Gueller pacing a four-point win over Cal Poly with 341 air yards and a trio of TDs.

Montana has won 11 straight over Idaho State including a thriller overtimer the last time they met at the Mini Dome.

The last Bengal win in 2003 when ISU won with a field goal in double OT.

One has to figure the surprise of the season is how well the offense has clicked and how poorly the defense has performed.

The O has scored at least 40 in every game except against the Huskies but remember defense wins championships and it’s time for this one to be a factor

13 Times A Week

By Mick Holien

Are you one of those people who are prone to exaggeration?

Or do you know somebody who loves to stretch the truth a little further every time they repeat the story.

Well you know it makes for good story tellin’ and after all who doesn’t like a good story.

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Tales of the Pros

By Mick Holien

Ok yes I am the first to admit it. IMO is quite the history buff but not necessarily the guy that wanders through museums to my heart’s content even though there are a myriad of excellent opportunities to do so.

I just really enjoy finding Montana connections in an assortment of corners.

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Give Them Some Help

By Mick Holien

What is it that is said about needing someone to head up a project or assist during a vital need – Find the person that is busier than anyone else and ask them to assist because they understand purpose, are extremely organized and focused on the betterment of a situation no matter what or even where it is.

But there remain in our area of Lake and Missoula County countless opportunities and even more important needs that require nothing more than even just a weekly hour of your time.

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One in the Left Column

By Mick Holien

The Grizzlies rid themselves road collar Saturday in picking up a pivotal road win that atoned somewhat for last week’s home loss to Eastern Washington.

The Grizzlies had lost the entire league road ledger the last two years and had not won a league rod game since defeating Montana State in 2015.

The last overall Griz road win was in 2016 against then No 4 Northern Iowa.

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Joe Mussulman

By Mick Holien

The obituary of Joe Mussulman came just short of filling an entire column in Saturday’s Missoulian.

And while an admirable dissertation it only scraped the surface of his 89-year life, his influence on the arts and individuals.

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Darn It Anyway

By Mick Holien

When you share a bit of Paradise with a horde, meant as a compliment here, of your probably distant friends, and your leisure recreation is heavily affected by the weather sometimes annual rites of passage come earlier some years than others.

Unfortunately that was the case this summer and with quite a bit of levity I’m just not that happy about it. I was thinking as my buddy Mark was delicately backing the boat into the car port Sunday night I’m just thankful for the few lake days I had this summer, no matter how fleeting they were.

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The Opener

By Mick Holien

Despite graduation of a trio of primo receivers, in a battle of gun slinging offenses Eastern Washington extended mastery over the Grizzlies to position themselves probably into the FCS top 10 and in their customary position looking down at the University of Montana.

Winners of seven of the last eight matchups, including two of the last three games at Washington Grizzly Stadium, the Eagles took no quarter after the Intermission in making up an 18 point deficit and scoring 42 second half points prevailing 48-41.

Quite a show indeed.

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Kick the Lid Off

By Mick Holien

Saturday in Missoula marks the first opportunity for the Montana Grizzlies to show the Big Sky Conference, national pollsters and pre-season procrastinators that they are set to shed the doldrums of last season and again move to football prominence.

Picked to finish in the middle of the circuit and listed as an also-ran for the first time in years, a victory over 11th ranked FCS powerhouse and old nemesis Eastern Washington would elevate Montana into the top 25 listing but also would throw the league into even a more wide open affair than the first month has indicated.

And while most would say it is way too early to predict the matchup with the Eagles presents a must-win scenario for Montana, let me tell you losing to a title challenger on your home field early in the schedule sets a challenger on their heels while a win before the home faithful can jumpstart momentum especially facing the rigors of the road.

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Where's My Wallet

By Mick Holien

Since I am replacing my recently misplaced wallet which never did turn up nor were any credit cards utilized, I became intrigued with how attached we men are to that piece of leather usually stored in our back pocket.

Additionally I have to confess that my pal Rusty provided some impetus to the idea in advising me he was about to replace his after 17 years.

I guess I might have a pair of sweat socks that are that old but that’s about the limit.

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A tale of two quarterbacks

By Mick Holien

Certainly injuries are a part of competitive sports but it seems so unfortunate and equally unfair when it happened to a player who reached fruition after a difficult journey only to have that success swept away in an instance.

Such is the case with a couple of quarterbacks – though I am sure there are more – with Texas A&M signal caller Nick Starkel and University of Montana starter Reese Phillips.

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Remembering Charlie

By Mick Holien

Charlie James made his mark on this earth long before publication of Sweetheart Magazine.

But the singles publication that long preceded the current horde to tease romantic or even platonic arrangements was the cherry atop his well lived life that touched so many.

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Early Halloween

By Mick Holien

A plethora of some of the usual Missoula historical characters spun life’s yarns on Sunday as grave sites at the Cemetery sprung to life for a few hours.

The annual Stories and Stones was advanced from near Halloween a few weeks both for the benefit of attendees and actors and weather couldn’t have been more cooperative.

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