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

C-Falls, Browning district champs

February 16, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake WHITEFISH ó Ryley Kehr scored the final seven points as Columbia Falls edged Browning 55-49 in a Northwest A District girls basketball championship thriller on Saturday night at Whitefish High Scho...

Comments

Read More

Northwestern A Libby boys, girls 3rd at district tourney

February 16, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake WHITEFISH ó Libbyís boys and girls both earned third-place finishes on Saturday at the Northwest A District basketball tournament at Whitefish High School by claiming victories in the consolation f...

Comments

Read More

Basketball Roundup Braves beat Bengals, snap skid

February 16, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake The Flathead Braves (5-11 overall, 2-8 league) snapped an eight-game losing streak by taking down Helena High 65-58 at Flathead High School on Saturday afternoon in Western AA boys basketball actio...

Comments

Read More

Northwest A District Tournament Browning girls, boys roll on

February 15, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake WHITEFISH Ė Libby held its own against No. 1 seed Browning, but the Lady Indians dominated the second quarter and fought off the Loggers for a 49-39 win in the semifinals of the Northwest A Distric...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

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

©2019 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X