TERRY COLUMN: Be careful what you wish for

Print Article

Losing to your rival is never easy. Frankly, it never should be.

For the second time in three seasons, a head football coach in the Brawl of the Wild has lost his job following an extended losing streak in the rivalry.

Bob Stitt was let go this week as Montana head coach after his second straight loss to Montana State, both ending late-season hopes at a playoff run. Stitt was 21-14 in his three-year tenure, making the playoffs in his first season.

That first season brought a lot of promise, including a nationally-televised victory over North Dakota State in Missoula. To say things went downhill from there is a little of an overstatement, but they certainly leveled off.

Two seasons ago, Montana State fired the winningest coach in program history, Rob Ash, for much of the same reasons. While he was a consistent winner, with three conference championships and four trips to the playoffs in nine seasons, he had trouble beating the Griz. Ashís teams were 2-7 against Montana, losing all five contests held in Bozeman. Coupled with his failures to get over the hump in the playoffs, Ash was let go.

MSUís replacement for Ash, Jeff Choate, has been successful in one aspect of his job. Heís beaten the Griz. Heís done it twice in two years and both were powerful performances.

What Choate hasnít been able to do is win the other games, with back-to-back losing seasons, finishing 4-7 in 2016 and 5-6 this year.

It depends on your definition of success if you feel that MSU made the right move. What do you value more, being in the position to win championships or beating your rival?

In a perfect world you would do both, but thatís extremely rare, even for a program with the advantages of Montana. There will be years where you lose to your rival. There will be years you donít make the playoffs. Some years both will happen. Most years one will happen.

Montana fired a winning coach who led a clean program in the hopes of something greater. It may turn out to be a good move in the end, if the Griz are able to find someone who is everything to everybody.

It could also go the other way, leaving the team looking again in a few years.

And is that really what you want?

Print Article

Read More Local Sports

MSUís Frey earns Big Sky honor

December 11, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake BOZEMANó After scoring a career-high 31 points in Montana Stateís 95-90 win over Washington State on Sunday, Bobcat guard Harald Frey earned Big Sky Conference Ready Nutrition Player of the Week hono...

Comments

Read More

UMís Olson named to AP FCS All-America team

December 11, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake MISSOULA ó Montana linebacker Dante Olson was named an Associated Press First-team All-American on Tuesday following a record-breaking season where he posted a national-best 151 tackles, shattering t...

Comments

Read More

Byrd resigns as Wildkat soccer coach

December 11, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake COLUMBIA FALLS ó The Columbia Falls School Board Monday Night accepted the resignation of coach OíBrien Byrd from the girls soccer team. He will continue to coach the boys team. Byrd said he hadnít ...

Comments

Read More

Bonners Ferry downs Libby in dual, 48-17

December 11, 2018 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake LIBBY ó There were some bright spots for the Libby Greenchain on Tuesday. Trey Thompson pinned his Bonners Ferry, Idaho, opponent, Zach Morrison picked up a technical fall and Buddy Doolin and Tuc...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

News: (406) 837-5131
Advertising: 406-758-4410
Bigfork Eagle
c/o Daily Inter Lake
PO Box 7610
Kalispell, MT 59904

©2018 Bigfork Eagle Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X