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. Ash’s 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.

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

What Choate hasn’t 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 that’s 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 don’t 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

Class AA Football Flathead rides ‘championship culture’ to title game

November 14, 2018 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake By KATIE BROWN The Daily Inter Lake The Flathead Braves aren’t just happy to be here. They’re here to win. Flathead (9-3) will compete for its first Class AA state football title in 48 years ...

Comments

Read More

Trophy case addition?

November 13, 2018 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Braves looking for first state football championship since 1970 By DAVID LESNICK The Daily Inter Lake Flathead (9-3) is one victory away from claiming its first state high school football champi...

Comments

Read More

Carroll coach retires after 20 seasons, 6 national titles

AP

November 12, 2018 at 2:06 pm | HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Carroll College football coach Mike Van Diest announced his retirement Monday after 20 seasons and six NAIA national championships. Van Diest's teams posted a 203-54 record duri...

Comments

Read More

Capital claims AA state volleyball title

November 10, 2018 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake BOZEMAN – Helena Capital defeated Bozeman 23-25, 25-19, 25-22, 27-25 to claim the Class AA state volleyball title on Saturday at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. Bozeman beat Flathead in the fourth-place...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2018 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X