By Mick Holien
The weekend’s activities at the Montana Football Hall of Fame induction left just a single question remaining for me – Why did it take this long to begin honoring the finest of the state’s gridiron.
Close to 300 were on hand for Saturday’s banquet but the whole affair began with a Friday night social where the stories of vintage to current players flowed like water through full gates at Fort Peck.
Not all inductees could make it in Friday night but I could have stayed at the side of three-sport star and 50-year Canadian Football League mainstay Bob O’Billovich and Griz and pro star Mike Tilleman.
While some of the stories will flow here you can sit in interviews with most of the inductees at montana-football-hall-of-fame.com.
There were several show-stoppers maybe headed by Gene Leonard of Missoula who jabbed inductee Mike Tilleman time and time again, the length of which might have been of concern to organizers of the 3 ½ hour affair but handled gracefully by Tilleman who joked all weekend about his artificial leg a result of diabetes.
Legend Montana State star and journeyman NFL coach Bill Kollar also was highly entertaining prompting several in the audience to remark if you played for him you wouldn’t need a door to get out of the locker room preferring instead to run through the wall.
The country song “I’ve been everywhere man,” could well describe the coaching travels of former Bobcat quarterback Dennis Erickson, who ran the gamut with stops from Seattle to Miami to all points west in a 47-year career that culminated with his recent retirement at Utah where he was the assistant head coach for the Utes.
Erickson won a pair of national championships at the University of Miami.
Former Griz All-American Tim Hauck, who played for Erickson at Seattle, brought the largest contingent sporting a couple of tables of mostly relatives.
Now an assistant coach at Philadelphia, the former Griz All American and Big Sky Conference multi Defensive Player of the Year, quite polished since I first interviewed him some 30 years ago joined Mitch Donahue to describe the fabled career of former Griz Kirk Scrafford, who couldn’t attend.
More to come about posthumous inductees as well as Harley Lewis and Dwan Edwards.
What an affair … Just sayin’