Most Montana Griz football fans know that businessman Dennis Washington and the employees of Washington Corporation provided a gift of $1 million in 1985 for the Washington-Grizzly stadium. Since then, the stadium has gone through several expansions and a couple of turf replacements.
What people may not know is that through these various expansions, the stadium has enough seats to host 25,203 Griz fans. However, Griz Nation has set several record attendance games, the latest being September 16, 2023, against Ferris State, when 26,978 Griz fans crammed into the stadium. These crowds, coupled with a winning coaching staff and Griz talent, make a difference. The noise the crowd generated in the game against Ferris State was partially credited for the Griz’s win that night. At several crucial third and fourth downs, the crowd rallied and made enough noise to cause several false starts – which contributed to Ferris State’s defeat.
Once you’ve experienced the magic of Washington-Grizzly Stadium, it’s easy to see why it won a spot on NCAA’s “The 10 best FCD stadiums to visit according to fans.”
Image via Uniswag
Vintage Griz colors
In 1893, when the University of Montana was founded, copper, silver, and gold were chosen as the school’s colors to represent Montana’s mining history. Interestingly, copper dye was in short supply during this time and so other colors, like maroon, were used as a substitute. In 1967, then-coach Jack Swarthout was troubled by the lack of consistency and recognition for the UM team. Though he personally preferred the maroon and silver combo, he took the color vote to the coaching staff and it was decided that the official colors would be Texas orange (to represent copper) and yellow gold. This carried through until Montana’s centennial celebration when, in 1995, the student body voted and decided that the school colors would return to maroon and silver.
A tradition meant to represent the spirit of Montana – “hard work, dedication to the team, and tough play on the gridiron” was born in 1983 when Griz fullback Kraig Paulson gifted his #37 jersey to an upcoming in-state defensive player. Hailing from Plentywood, MT, Paulson was revered by his team and fans alike for his work ethic and no-nonsense approach to the game. Since then, several of the recipients of the #37 jersey have gone on to play in the NFL.
Right now, Kroy Biermann may be well known for marrying (and subsequently yo-yo divorcing) Kim Zolciak of The Real Housewives of Atlanta fame. But before that, Kroy played for the Montana Griz and won the Buck Buchanan Award in 2007 (after being a runner-up for the award in 2006) for National Defensive Player of the Year. Biermann also won the Big Sky Conference’s Defensive MVP in 2007. He went on to be a 5th-round draft pick for the Atlanta Falcons in 2008. In 2016, Biermann briefly signed on with the Buffalo Bills but was released as part of their final roster cuts. Kroy resigned from professional sports, becoming a full-time dad to his six children with Zolciak.
Image via Montanasports/Richie Melby
Coach Bobby Hauck
Those new to Griz fandom may not know that Coach Hauck also coached the Griz from 2003-2009, taking the Griz to the national championship game three times and winning seven straight Big Sky Conference championships. In 2018, Hauck became the winningest coach in Montana history, surpassing coaching legend Don Read by winning a staggering 86 times in just eight seasons. As of today, Coach Hauck is just a few wins away from becoming the Big Sky Conference’s coach with the most wins. Last, but certainly not least, Hauck has also carved out a reputation for academic success with his team. Since his return in 2018, his football players have broken academic records by having the highest GPA in the program’s history.
Brother Tim and Son Robby Hauck
If you are new to the Montana Griz football program, prepare to be wowed by the rest of Coach Bobby Hauck’s family. Younger brother Tim is in the Grizzly Sports Hall of Fame, has spent 13 years in the NFL (adding a Super Bowl win to his resume), and has returned to UM as a defensive analyst. He still holds the school record for most stops in a game (25).
Bobby’s son and Tim’s nephew, Robby Hauck, is in no way resting on the family name. He carved out an unbelievable sports and academic career at UM also. Not to be outdone by the other men in his family, Robby finished his college football career by breaking both UM’s and the Big Sky Conference’s tackle records. During that time, Robby broke several other records and raked in just as many awards, including the prestigious 2022-23 Grizzly Cup. He graduated with THREE degrees and a nearly perfect GPA, leaving us to wonder if the Haucks are actual humans or a family of football superheroes.
Image credit Kat Hobza
Insider transportation and tailgating tips
Locals know that parking at the university is limited and can be expensive on home game days. Be prepared to park off campus and hike back and forth to the game or come with a wallet full of cash for paid parking lots. Another option is UDash’s or Beach Transportation’s football shuttles that run around campus, downtown, and from popular Missoula bars.
If you are a newbie to Washington-Grizzly Stadium, it’s important to know that outside beverages are not allowed in the stadium, and alcohol is not served. HOWEVER, an important part of the Griz Nation experience is tailgating. To host a tailgate party, visit the UM’s policy page here.
Attending a tailgate party is easy, but they are private, and you have to be invited. Tailgate etiquette is to bring an adult beverage to share that you and others will enjoy. Occasionally, companies like Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty will host tailgate parties that are open to the public. In fact, on November 18, GSIR is hosting a tailgate during the most infamous rivalry game of the year – The Brawl of the Wild – when Bozeman’s Bobcats head to Washington-Grizzly stadium to play the Montana Griz! This will be a party you DO NOT want to miss – follow our Facebook page for more details on the party of the year! GO GRIZ!
Feature image via UpWithMontana
Kat Hobza has lived in Montana since she was nine, and was raised in the mountains west of Victor, Montana. There she learned to hunt, fish, shoot competitively, chop and stack firewood, and drive on icy or muddy roads. Kat has over two decades of experience in professional writing, content and digital marketing, and is a marketing consultant for Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty. When she’s not working, she’s either hanging with her hilarious adult kids or soaking up the sun somewhere – a riverbank, a golf course, or her deck.
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