By Mick Holien
I have to admit I have never seen so many newspaper stories in the off-season about Grizzly football.
I do subscribe to the theory that there is no such thing as bad publicity but sometimes that can be a stretch.
However I see the coverage as an indication of what expectations some media have for returning mentor Bobby Hauck
But my problem is it much of the reporting has been superficial and lacking perspective.
Now part of the reason for that is the sports reporters, while well intentioned at being outstanding reporters, act as if history started the day they graced the fine city of Missoula.
Now I can’t blame them I guess not knowing that the school Gresh Jensen has chosen to further his career is the same school that graces a statue of 9-letter or so former Griz Hal Sherbeck who arguably could be considered in the top five of all-time Griz athletes, not just football.
But why the statue. Well Old coach, his license plate if you will, won more games (241) at Fullerton than any coach in community college history.
Before Hal came to Montana as a player where he lettered nine times in three sports, he lettered in three sports at my Alma Mater Olympic College in Bremerton.
Hal cared deeply about athletics, specifically the University of Montana but also coached Missoula County High School to three state titles in four years.
But a lifestyle statue. Well Gresch you are following in the footsteps as a player with a coach who coached 31 years at the school, winning three national titles and enjoyed a 47-game unbeaten streak.
A volunteer assistant at UM for a time after retirement, he used to call me on Sundays from his Grinde Bay home on Flathead Lake inquiring about why the team didn’t perform to his standards. “What the heck is going on down there,” was a familiar Sherbeck statement if Montana failed to live up to his expectations,
I sure miss those calls. Hal died in 2014 at the age of 86.
Back to even more recent there’s that list of so-so players, all high school stars I am sure, who were brought to campus as “invited redshirts’’ cannon fodder if you will.
If you were to inquire further there is a good chance they knew it would be difficult that they would ever see extended time but were grateful to be given the opportunity to turn heads.
And you could check the roster and come up with those type of names any year, not just in this transition season.
And Thatcher Szlay may have been the last Whitefish signee but he didn’t play decades ago (as in plural says Missoulian), but was a member of the 2001 Championship team
It is not that rare for smaller classifications not to have a Griz player on the UM roster. Polson, for example, has two on the roster right now and it has been since Kirk Murphy in 88-91 since there has been a Griz signee from here. Yes a decade longer than Whitefish.
And a little background please. Liv Roberts is a superb player who had a great Wyoming career but did you know who her mom is and what about her UM football brothers Mitch Roberts and brother Ben.
Her Mom Cheri Brat was one of Robin Selvig’s early stars beginning her career in 1980. She finished sixth on the all-time scoring list behind a pair of Dedens Linda Smith and Doris hasquet.
A 4-year starter from Flathead Hi, she was defensive player of the year as a junior, was first team all academic and second team all conference.
Cheri also was a great high school player all tournament four years and All-Conf and All-State her last 3 years.
So maybe some context or perspective or maybe I’m the only one cherishing history.