By Mick Holien
Deepest congrats to Larry Krystowiak assisted by former Griz Andy Hill as it took an extra overtime period but Utah finally slipped past St Marys and into the semi finals of the National Invitational Tournament at Madison Square Garden.
Gonzaga, in the sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive year, is the only other team to beat the Gaels in Moraga, Ca, where the West Coast Conference team traditionally battles the Zags for superiority and put together a record 30-win season.
Both teams easily could have been included in the NCAA field but were a part of the last four out. The Utes next play Western Kentucky.
The inaugural University of Montana football player to have his jersey retired is among the third class of inductees into the Montana Football Hall of Fame Saturday in Billings.
Running back Terry Dillon was killed in 1962 when construction equipment he was operating fell from a failed track into the Clark Fork River west of Alberton.
The brainchild of a private group based in the Magic City focused initially on raising money to reinstate the football program at MSU-Billings, members of the Big Huddle have seen attendance of the annual induction that includes players, coaches and support personnel grow to the nearly 500 expected to be on hand this year.
Full disclosure here I currently am a member of the group’s selection committee which includes former coaches and media members.
Dillon’s No. 22 and multi Hall of Famer Dave Dickenson are the only football players whose jersey never again will be worn at UM.
One of the most prolific rushers in Griz history who also excelled at defensive back the Minnesota product played a part of a dozen Griz victories under head coach Ray Jenkins as Montana moved from the PCC to become an inaugural member of the newly former Big Sky Conference.
The five victories were the most wins by a Griz team since 1947. Now keep in mind teams in the PCC largely now are members of the Pac 12.
Dillon’s 1,569 yards stand 12th on the all-time rushing and his 892 yards his senior year still rank 14th. Also the team’s punter Dillon ranked 15th in the Nation with better than a 40-yard per punt average.
In 1964 the school began honoring the top back or receiver with an award in his name.
Dillon was just the sixth Grizzly selected for the prestigious East-West Shrine game and also intercepted a pass on the College All Star team that beat Green Bay in the last game of that series. He was the first Montana player selected to that squad.
Selected by both professional leagues, the NFL and the fledgling AFL, Terry signed with the Vikings in 1962 and although initially injured started seven games at defensive back the following year and signed a contract for the upcoming 64 season when he was killed.
Saturday’s induction also will feature Grizzlies Guy Bingham and Rocky Klever, who both will attend, and Doug Betters who played two years at Montana before transferring.
Selection requirements six years after the end of career include playing two years at a Montana high school or a season of in-state college ball, and at least 10 years in the professional ranks.
This year’s other inductees are Sam Jankovich, Cory Widmer and Sam McCollum, Casey Fitzsimmons and the deceased Bill Glennon.