Griz Greats: the Silver Anniversary of the 1995 national champion Grizzlies brought to you by Blackfoot and First Security Bank is a long form interview series hosted by Ryan Tootell and Colter Nuanez of ESPN Missoula delving into the oral history of the University of Montana’s 1995 Division I-AA football championship.
The Griz football program has established a reputation as one of the most dominant in the history of small-school college football over the last 35 years. But UM’s first 20 years in the Big Sky Conference were largely uneventful.
When Don Read arrived in Missoula in 1985, one of the greatest head coaches in college football history ushered in a new era that helped the Grizzlies eventually rise to levels of dominance unseen in the West.
In 1995, Read’s 10th and final season at the helm, the Grizzlies caught lightning in a bottle, riding a hot streak by quarterback Dave Dickenson to the first national championship in the history of the university. From Dickenson’s peerless play throughout the playoffs to Andy Larson’s unforgettable field goal to beat the Marshall Thundering Herd on their own field in the national title game to Read riding off into the sunset with a national title in his final game as a college head coach, the 1995 Grizzlies and the stories behind that unforgettable season are the stuff of legend.
Tootell and Nuanez will present more than two dozen interviews with former players, coaches, administrators, media members, Missoula and Montana community leaders and much more to unveil the decade-long rise that culminated in a national championship that changed the face of the University of Montana and the city of Missoula forever. First Security Bank, Blackfoot and ESPN Missoula hope you enjoy Griz Greats – the Silver Anniversary of the 1995 national champion Grizzlies.