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By Mick Holien

By the time this program airs the final slots are filled for the State B Tournament by either Loyola or Anaconda as a result of the challenge game between the two in Ronan Monday night.

Unbeaten Bigfork came in as the favorite in the Western B and while pushed to double OT by Anaconda in the Quarter-Finals they made it to State with their record unscathed.

While wearing the Anaconda color on their Internet broadcast, I described the extra sessions battle between the two as an instant classic and it was a beauty finally decided by a missed free throw, a miss on the put back off the rebound, a held ball favoring the Copperheads with two seconds followed by a block to preserve the win.

That all happened in about two seconds and in the midst of it there were two issues with blood, an on-court uniform change, a coach off his bench almost to the free throw circle being restrained by a manager who by the way is not allowed to be on the court anywhere unless summoned.  

The foible did nothing to diminish the game or the tournament but instead was just an example of the intensity involved in that kind of contest.

Speaking off there was an increased attendance of uniformed officers both Friday and Saturday night. Athletic Director Lucky Larson, the former Lake County Sheriff, said there were about a half dozen on site both nights although there were no instances and their presence was largely unnoticed.

Bigfork Assistant Coach Jim Epperly told me before the quarter-final game there were four good teams remaining and he was happy to be one of them. Go figure.

Speaking of Epperly, whose son starts at the point for Bigfork: It probably went unnoticed to most but after the emotional victory while son Anders was diving into the student section after tossing the ball to the rafters, the volatile coach was make his way towards and down the Copperhead player line.

He either chest bumped or otherwise encouraged them not to be decesimated settle by the defeat to his team but rather to focus on winning a pair in the loser’s bracket, and the challenge game to return to the State Tournament.  

The Copperheads said they were so taken back they didn’t know how to respond when he started through the line. Hitting players in the chest with an index finger.

This is what sportsmanship is all about and an example of being involved in sports for the right reasons. As I wrote on Facebook st the time Jim’s Dad Bill, missing from the event for the first time left me with an empty feeling.

In closing be sure not to forget about the Great Futures breakfast for the Boys and Girls Club Wednesday morning at the clubhouse on the north end of Ronan (The former Total Home).

Starts at 7:30 and I’ll have you out of there by 9 a.m. that is unless you want to get your picture or an autograph with record setting running back Chase Reynolds.

And the week is young..just sayin’

A Decent Showing

By Mick Holien

Since 1991 the Grizzlies have played eight games in the NCAA Tournament losing all but one, the upset of Nevada in 2006.

A common thread for me in the half dozen of those games I had the privilege to describe was the obvious difference in opponent’s athleticism.

And thus the disparity in the final outcome, losing to Kentucky by 38 to Oregon by 19, to Boston College by 13, to Wisconsin by 24, and to Syracuse by 47.

While there was a fleeting moment in each contest there also was a point where I just knew - while I didn’t analyze it on the radio that way of course – that the day was not going to belong to Montana.

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Does Anybody in Reno or Boise Care:?

By Mick Holien

Here on this Ides of March this IMO is back after a brief diversion when basically I just hit the wall.

It isn’t something I often do but it was just a case of a bit of plate overloading that not only proved me ineffective but also a bit out of character.

Did I bury myself or was it partially brought by returning to my haunts at the Adams Center where I spent so many days and nights.

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The Chipper

By Mick Holien

I have to admit I was melancholic about returning courtside to Dahlberg Arena where for more than three decades I described University of Montana men and women’s basketball games.

But after discovering where I was sitting – at the college visiting g radio spot – any thought of distraction faded and Blake Hempstead gleefully, or in my case sometimes too over the top, described a disappointed and shortened result of the final two games for Anaconda at the Boys State B in Missoula.

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Champions in more ways than one

By Mick Holien

There is no doubt that the state of Montana in general and Indian reservations in particular suffer from one of the highest suicide rates in the country.

As an adult I often inquire of others in my circle “just when taking one’s own life become an option.

But while many times such an act is shrouded in secrecy, because of social media the kids almost instantly learn of a suicide along with the usual Ws of Who, what, where and why along with How.

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Whose is the Sheriff

By Mick Holien

How is it that famous saying reads? There’s a new Sheriff in town?

That is not to say there is a distinct difference between the program or even the locker room between Bob, as in Stiff, or Bobby, as is Hauck.

But while intense and stringent when Hauck previously held the position for seven years, as he told me in an interview “hey I’m a little different than when I was 38.

Aren’t we all coach, aren’t we all?

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Too Many Trophies

By Mick Holien

So what do you think – are there too many awards and what about Hall of Fames

The whole issue came to mind recently as I was writing some program profiles for the third class of the Montana Football Hall of Fame in Billings later this month.

Let’s maybe look first at awards, trophies, plaques, even a certificate. Are they appreciated when they are awarded. Does it come just as a routine from the giver or recipient for that matter?

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A boat's Tale et All

By Mick Holien

I guess a couple of warmer days only serve to wet our whistle with thoughts of balmy spring but that quickly was alleviated with what started as grapple then quickly turned into a mini snow storm up here on the hill overlooking Polson Bay.

And the next thing I knew I had about three inches more of the white stuff on a driveway that has been painted with at least white specs for some time.

Now don’t get me wrong – I am a four-season guy…no really honest I like the four seasons. Well maybe not marked quite so pointingly and lasting quite so long.

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A Grand Affair

Even though I mistakenly posted the incorrect date on Facebook close to 200 people attended Wednesday’s Great Futures free breakfast at the new Boys and Girls building.

The yearly affair takes on added significance this winter after the Lake County non-profit purchased the former family furniture store, The Total Home, at the north Highway 93 entrance to Ronan.

All the non-weight bearing walls have been removed inside the 19,000-square-foot building leaving an area resembling an empty artist’s pallet.

That is exactly those associated with the Club envision for the expansive facility which will replace the current facility which in 2019 will be razed as the highway through town will be split.

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By Mick Holien

By the time this program airs the final slots are filled for the State B Tournament by either Loyola or Anaconda as a result of the challenge game between the two in Ronan Monday night.

Unbeaten Bigfork came in as the favorite in the Western B and while pushed to double OT by Anaconda in the Quarter-Finals they made it to State with their record unscathed.

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Just 27 Minutes To Live

By Mick Holien

It was some kind of winter weekend that for this IMO was bolstered by being surrounding by all the elements of a high school basketball tournament.

For no particular reason the extended weekend was a storyteller’s smorgasbord that will cause me to dot eyes and cross t’s for some time.

Without carrying forward I have to say the elements, which began with a Wednesday lunch, were so diverse it required jotting notes in advance of getting to the keyboard.

But first did it have to be so darn cold – Hey I’m mostly a positive guy who seldom notices the weather, but the windswept arctic temperatures brought shivers to my soul.

So in no particular order.

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UM President a Keeper

By Mick Holien

I’m not a person of hyperbole but I feel comfortably saying that the selection of Seth Bodnar as the University of Montana’s 19th president is not just a home run it’s a Grand Slam.

I do have to admit that before I met him as he visited Emma last week, I came to that conclusion by one of the first things he did after taking the reins from Interim President Sheila Stearns with a agreeable nod to her husband Hal, the state’s first Interim Gentleman.

Early on Bodnar said Academics was not necessarily his strength and he expected to place a priority on hiring a top-of-the line amd highly experienced Provost.

Currently an Interim Provost-and Vice-President for Academic Affairs is pushing the ball down the floor while four finalists for the position will visit campus next month.

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The Die has been Cast

By Mick Holien

There is a solid certainty in in the confines of Main Hall on the University of Montana campus and the institution’s oldest graduate was quick to pass along her seal of approval Thursday on Charter, the 125th anniversary of the school’s founding.

New at the helm but surely not new with the charm UM’s 19th president dropped by Missoula’s Village Senior Residence along with also a new signee but not a rookie new presence, head football coach Bobby Hauck, if not for a better reason than to seek some of Emma Lommasson’s106- year-old wisdom.

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Be My Valentine

By Mick Holien

Happy mid-week Valentine’s Day and what a romantic story I have to share with you.

I guess I could say I planned it all out this way but alas the truth be known, some special activities I have planned for the University of Montana’s most elder Alumna just happen to be planned on Charter Day celebrating the founding of the institution 125 years ago.

Now you’ll remember I often have talked with you about the influence that 106-year-old Emma Lommasson has had on my life.

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Is There a replacement

By Mick Holien

I’m here to tell you if you are one of those folks who occasionally slips towards negativity, if not actual depression, I have discovered what I am sure many of you already know.

And I found it on the Internet by accident since I don’t spend a lot of time scanning through videos and the like.

Before I wrote this I probably should go back and find the site I spent about an hour on laughing my tail off but alas here we go.

I have always been an animal lover, always owned mostly larger-breed dogs and I have to admit since I had to put down my beloved yellow, Skyy, on May 30 there have been plenty of temptations to head to the Shelter or find another means of locating and adopting a rescue dog.

Actually when Skyy made the trip across the Rainbow Bridge I disassembled her kennel used to house her when I was on the road and give her access to the remainder of the residence.

Trying to remove the temptation to obtain a quick replacement – even though there probably can’t be one – I guess.

So far I have settled on the canvas mounted photo of her greeting me every time I come into the living room and so far so good.

But as I said today I discovered even a better scenario.

Scan the Internet – and I am sure there are plenty of such sites out there – and find videos of dogs mimicking and joining the family of other classes of animals.

We are all used to a female dog nursing babies to health but to watch other species not just return the favor and aggressively play with canines, but also to learn the antics by watching other breeds and a variety of different animals.

We knew of course they can dance but if watching animals perform doesn’t bring a smile to your eyes – well I don’t know what will.

I have personal evidence of that in a picture mounted on my refrigerator.

After I had a stroke a couple of years ago my pal Rose brought Skyy to Providence Center rehab a couple of times.

But on one particular day, granted it had been a couple of weeks since I had seen her, aged as she was up on the hospital bed she came to put her snout under my chin and give me a physical.

Not a bit of hesitation and no coaxing, if was just up I come and fortunately somebody got a photo.

As sweet as that was, please go find funniest homer animal videos (not the real spot) and prepare yourself for a mood change.

It’s worth the time – Just saying’


Which Holiday

By Mick Holien

If you’re from the “old school,” whatever that can now be described as, celebration of the birthday of our country’s first president would be celebrated ten days from today on Feb. 22nd.

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Talkin' Hoop

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Who's your Daddy

Mick Holien

If there is a single thing the inaugural class of Bobby Hauck’s Grizzly football recruits since 2008 have quickly grasped on the day of National Letter of Intent signing is no matter how quickly you are traversing the M trail you could still could find a surprise waiting ahead.

With their arrival at the M they discovered the guy who lost but five games his last three seasons he Missoula helm just hankering to introduce them to Bobby Ball.

Bobby Haack with his third tenure in Missoula and second as the head guy and most of his staff along with administrators made the annual trek to Kalispell with a short layover in Polson to show off to more than 300 people an impressive list of recruits dominated by a Bakers dozen of Treasure State products.

There were 26 signees, including 15 who signed early, who filled the 18 scholarship limit. Note that football rides can be split between players.

Former Grizzly QB Grady Bennett placed a quartet from Glacier High in Kalispell, the only high school to provide more than a single player, although Missoula schools had three signees.

With the transfer of Dalton Sneed from Fort Scott Community College via UNLV and the signing of Garrett Graves of Lincoln County High School in Eureka and the return of Gresch Jenson and redshirt Tanner Wilson, the holdover of Caleb Hill, and the departure of Nate Dick, there is now a quarterback in each class which is most desirable.

Bobby will don the head coach garb for the 97th time come September and little has changed in the enthusiasm and pizzas that pushes his desire to succeed.

There is plenty of Grizzly lore in the signees with Hauck;’s son Robby transferring from Northern Arizona with the blessing of Jerome Souers, the signing of Colten Curry whose dad Scott is a Hall of Famer from Valier who p[layer from 95-98, Gabe Sulser from Billings senior whose dad Mark from Glasgow played from 97-98 and Nick Germer from Sentinel whose Dad Chad is the offensive line coach who played from 88-91.

The class stretched from as far away as Pennsylvania to9 southern California and is weighted to the offense 16 players including five offensive linemen and three tight ends.

Bobby ball you see showcases fullbacks and tight ends.

I always say you never know till they’re upperclassman but this signed unit looks especially formidable.

Happy Daze?

By Mick Holien

I am not so sure that in the dozen or so winters I have resided up here in the woods on Holien acres, which actually paints an inaccurate impression of my meager existence there has ever been quite as much snow piled in the driveway.

Long ago it was too much accumulation for a snow blower and whole I have a great machine with weights and chains, along with a three deck mower, in the carport its work credentials have been less than fruitful over the last few winters.

So since the snow was stacked so high and wide it required a truck with a blade that promptly got stuck in my driveway requiring my pickup for assistance.

Who’s counting but I think that might be the fourth vehicle stuck in the driveway which is a mere 100 feet but has a strange twist to and then of course you have to count the two visitors – one stuck at the gate almost to the private road and the other pulling a short trailer who got stuck so as to block any neighbors anyone from coming or going.

That is my way of being neighborly I guess.

But remember my groundhogs shadow and hold on to your hat cuz spring’s right …

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Bobby Ball

By Mick Holien

Recent recruiting and commitment guidelines for high school students anxious to display their prowess at a more elevated level have altered some of the intrigue surrounding the traditional February contract signing but boosters always cling to any and all of what they might speculate as “inside” information and Wednesday is no exception.

And in addition to announcements about future Griz pigskin performers they’re anxious and probably even hopeful they might glean a tidbit of well you know “did you know that?

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For a Change It was Super

By Mick Holien

How is it that a guy can write copy the day after the Super Bowl and not talk football?

The myriad of bowls long have put wrap on the collegiate season at all levels, all star games have been contested , conf hoop is well underway, and well you’re right, I can’t not talk some football.

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