What is in a hashtag? Behind each Big Sky football team’s mantra


Want a window into a team?

Look no further than how they are promoting themselves. In this day and age, team slogans are more than a rallying cry or a motivational mantra.

Broadcast by hashtags across social media, they represent exactly what message a program wants to send to the world. It’s not an accident that Griz football has been hash-tagging #RTD – Return to Dominance – ever since head coach Bobby Hauck came back to Missoula prior to the 2018 season.

Here’s what Big Sky coaches had to say at the Big Sky Kickoff about the slogans they’ve picked – or not picked – for the 2021 season.

Idaho State coach Rob Phenicie

Idaho State head coach Rob Phenicie and Montana head coach Bobby Hauck before a game in Missoula in 2019/ by Brooks Nuanez


Win football games. No, just our mantra is that we need two more minutes out of everybody. Because in all of those games (in the spring season), we were two minutes away, we were ahead. That’s not really like a slogan, it was just something that we talked about.”

Cal Poly coach Beau Baldwin


“You know, I don’t get too much into that. But one of the things I talked about in the beginning of the year was the climb. Ride High will always be a staple for us. Ride High was here before I ever got here.

“I always knew that even when we’re competing against them because you’d see it on shirts and stuff. But we also talked about the climb. And really, I don’t want to talk a bunch about it, but we wanted it to be something that we’re truly living.

“And basically what we’re saying is, our climb becomes our day-to-day process. Because anything you’re doing is gonna be hard, it’s not gonna be easy, and a climb is always harder than going downhill. So that culture has to be created by your day-to-day. It can’t just be thrown on the wall or a T-shirt or thrown all over Twitter; You gotta live it, you know?

“So that’s what we talked about. When you look at the last four months with these guys, what they’ve done, a lot of times I’m not even around because I’m off either recruiting or fundraising. But they’re holding each other accountable. They’re in the weight room at six in the morning and taking them out for player-run practices. Each day, they’re stacking one of those, that’s that climb, and that’ll create, ultimately, that culture.”

Montana State coach Brent Vigen

Montana State head coach Brent Vigen/ by Brooks Nuanez


“We’ve kind of been on the mantra of Bobcat Built. That’s built on a very similar foundation like Coach (Jeff) Choate had. It’s about the process and it’s about the journey, and understanding that to get where we want to we need to develop, we need to improve.”

Eastern Washington coach Aaron Best


We’re gonna roll that out. Our team will take a week off after this week and then when we get together next week, late in the week, we’re gonna bring our rookies in, our freshmen, and then we’ll bring in our vets a couple days after. We always wait until after summer to kind of anoint what our theme of the year is.”

Southern Utah coach Demario Warren

SUU head coach Demario Warren with NFL cornerback LeShaun Sims


“All In, man. It’s our last Big Sky season, our last opportunity to win a championship. We have to put teams away when we get those opportunities, and the only way I think we can do that is just to be all in every single day, every single meeting, every single game. You go all in for a couple of different reasons. You go all in because you put so much into it, that’s your spot invested.

“And I think that’s something that our team really has done in the summer, is put so much work into it. And I think we got a chance. So that’s the slogan for this year. Eleven United has always been our mantra, the main thing, so we talked about that and we also talked about going all in this season.”

Sacramento State coach Troy Taylor


“I’m not a slogan guy. I mean, there’s four things that drive our program, those never change. I don’t have a, like, Pull The Rope or whatever, I don’t do it. I’m not against it. I’m not making fun of it. I’ve thought out my philosophy, that’s not going to change. It’s the same as it was in 2019. I believe in it, but I don’t have a slogan or anything.”

Portland State coach Bruce Barnum


“My recruiting guys do (#BarnyBall), but we don’t yet. We’ll decide on that. You gotta ask me on August 28.”

Northern Arizona coach Chris Ball

Northern Arizona head coach Chris Ball in 2019/by Brooks Nuanez


“We don’t really have one, we just stick with a CHOP. CHOP is our core values, Character, Hardworking, Ownership and Present, we still hang our hat on that.  As long as we’re doing that, as a football team and as a staff, we’re gonna win.”

Idaho coach Paul Petrino


“We’re going to keep it to ourselves for a little bit, so (it’ll be revealed) right before the season starts.”

Northern Colorado OC Max McCaffery


“We’ve been hashtagging #ANewEra. It’s a different time here at UNC. We’ve formulated a culture, a championship culture, and we want to go out and win one. Obviously we know it’s not easy.

“Teams in this league are competitive, are tough. These teams have been doing it year in and year out. The Big Sky is one of the best conferences in the FCS and so we’ve got our work cut out for us, but we’re ready to take on that challenge.”

UC Davis coach Dan Hawkins


Davis Guys. #DavisGuys. I don’t know.”

Montana coach Bobby Hauck

Montana head coach Bobby Hauck/ by Brooks Nuanez


“No, we don’t have one. You know us, we’re pretty meat and potatoes around here. Let’s go compete, let’s go see how we do.”

About Andrew Houghton

Andrew Houghton grew up in Washington, DC. He graduated from the University of Montana journalism school in December 2015 and spent time working on the sports desk at the Daily Tribune News in Cartersville, Georgia, before moving back to Missoula and becoming a part of Skyline Sports in early 2018.

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