Former Montana State Bobcats football coaches at the NCAA level Feb 10, 2021 Feb 10, 2021 0 Facebook Twitter WhatsApp SMS Email Print Copy article link Save Since joining the NCAA in 1957, Montana State has won two of their three national championships and had 14 different head football coaches. 2021: Brent Vigen Feb 8, 2021 The Bobcats announced Brent Vigen as Montana State's next football coach Feb. 8, 2021, filling the vacancy left after Jeff Choate departed for a job on the coaching staff of the University of Texas. Vigen comes to Bozeman after serving as Wyoming’s offensive coordinator, associate head coach and quarterbacks coach. Vigen was North Dakota State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under current Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl from 2009-13. Vigen’s first coaching job was at NDSU, his alma mater, in 1998.The Bobcats are set to open their fall 2021 season at the University of Wyoming. MSU Athletics 2016-2021: Jeff Choate Jan 30, 2021 When he arrived on campus in 2016, Jeff Choate was fresh off finishing his assistant coaching duties with Washington in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. During the next four seasons, Jeff Choate's teams were 28-22, including a 4-0 record against rival Montana with some of the most memorable results in the series of recent memory. “When coach Choate first got here he said it was going to take four years — the first year we’d lose big, the next year lose small, the third year win small and then the fourth year win big," safety Brayden Konkol recounted prior to the 2019 season, and the Bobcats delivered. They made the playoffs twice, losing both times to eventual champions North Dakota State. His final game with the Bobcats was in the 2019 FCS semifinals at North Dakota State where they fell to the eventual national champions 42-14. The Bobcats didn't play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.After drawing consideration from Boise State for their head coaching vacancy in January 2021, Choate appeared to be staying in Bozeman. But two weeks later, he was hired as an assistant coach at the University of Texas. DARYN HENDRICKSON, For 406mtsports.com 2007-2015: Rob Ash Jan 30, 2021 Montana State parted ways with football coach Rob Ash two days after the 2015 Brawl of the Wild. The Bobcats lost to Montana 54-35 at home in his final game and were 2-6 against the Grizzlies overall (Montana's 2011 win was later vacated). But over his nine seasons, Ash led the Bobcats to a 70-38 record and his 70 wins are the most in school history. His Bobcat teams made the quarterfinals of the playoffs in back-to-back years (2011-12), but both ended in losses to Sam Houston State, and two first-round losses.Second only to John Gagliardi for wins by a current or former Montana coach, Rob Ash compiled a 247-137-5 career record between 1980 and 2015. Ash began as an assistant at his alma mater Cornell in 1976 before becoming head coach at Juniata College in 1980. In 1989, he became head coach at Drake, where he oversaw the Bulldogs' leap from NCAA Division III independent to Division I. Ash compiled a 125-63-2 record at Drake before becoming head coach at Montana State in 2007.After departing Montana State, he served as an offensive analyst at Arkansas in 2016. He then joined Championship Analytics, Inc., a coaching consulting firm.Transition continued at Montana State after Ash was dismissed when AD Peter Fields also didn't have his contract renewed in 2016. DEAN HENDRICKSON, For The Gazette 2000-2006: Mike Kramer Jan 30, 2021 Bobcat coach Mike Kramer will always be remembered by Bobcats fans for breaking "The Streak" of 16 consecutive losses to rival Montana with a 10-7 victory over the Grizzlies in Missoula in 2002, his third season. His Bobcat teams earned three Big Sky Conference titles in 2002, 2003 and 2005. During Kramer's tenure, the Bobcats were 40-43.His collegiate coaching career began with the Bobcats in 1983 and he was the linebackers coach on the 1984 national championship team. He spent the next two years as a defensive coordinator for the Bobcats before moving on. He arrived back in Bozeman after six seasons as coach of Eastern Washington and eleven total with the Eagles.Kramer was dismissed by AD Peter Fields in spring 2007 shortly after the arrest of a player. Four seasons after his departure from Montana State, he returned to the Big Sky sidelines as the coach of Idaho State from 2011-2016. Tom Bauer, Missoulian 1992-1999: Cliff Hysell Nov 16, 2015 Bobcat coach Cliff Hysell, pictured here in his signature blue duster, leaves the stadium after losing in Missoula in 1994. The Bobcats were 41-47 during his tenure at the helm and never defeated the Grizzlies.Hysell was the second Sonny Holland assistant to serve as Montana State's head coach when he arrived back in Bozeman after a decade at Fresno State. Hysell was part of the Bobcats championship in 1976 as part of the coaching staff. He also was a lineman at Montana State from 1964-65. Hysell passed away in 2014 at the age of 72. Michael Gallacher, Missoulian 1987-1991: Earle Solomonson Jan 30, 2021 MSU AD Doug Fullerton announced after the 1991 season that Earle Solomonson's contract wouldn't be renewed for a sixth year. The Bobcats had a 15-38 record during Solomonson's time at the helm and never beat the Grizzlies. Solomonson came to Montana State after previously serving as the head coach for then-NCAA Division II North Dakota State. Montana State was his last coaching job after which he went into insurance. Kort Duce, Missoulian 1983-86: Dave Arnold Jan 30, 2021 Montana State coach Dave Arnold accepts the 1984 NCAA Division I-AA national championship trophy after a 19-6 victory over Louisiana Tech in Charleston, South Carolina. Arnold's tenure captures both a high and low in Bobcats' history: their most recent national championship (1984) in his second season and the start of "The Streak" of 16 consecutive wins by Montana in the Brawl of the Wild in his final season (1986). Overall, the Bobcats were 18-30 during his tenure and Big Sky champions in 1984.After being dismissed from Montana State, Arnold joined Dennis Erickson's staff at Washington State, then Miami and finally as a special teams coach with the Seattle Seahawks. He was an assistant at Albion and finished at Colorado State in 2007. Montana State Athletics 1982: Doug Graber Jan 30, 2021 Doug Graber had the Bobcats rolling out to a 4-2 start atop the Big Sky in the 1982 season before the annual Brawl of the Wild in Missoula where the Grizzlies came out on top 45-14. By February, Graber left to take an assistant coaching position with the Kansas City Chiefs. Missoulian file photo 1978-1981: Sonny Lubick Updated Feb 9, 2021 Butte native Sonny Lubick began his coaching career as an assistant at Montana State in 1970. Lubick took the reigns of the Bobcats from another Sonny, Sonny Holland, in 1978, posting an 8-2 record in his first season and winning the Big Sky Conference championship the following year. His last two years in Bozeman were less successful and he soon moved on to become offensive coordinator at Colorado State. In his four seasons, the Bobcats were 21-19 overall and 2-2 against the Grizzlies.After stints as an assistant at Stanford and Miami, Lubick returned to Colorado State as head coach in 1993. While at CSU, Lubick won three Western Athletic Conference championships and three Mountain West Conference championships. Colorado State renamed its home field at Hughes Stadium in Lubick's honor. Gazette file photo 1971-1977: Sonny Holland Sep 27, 2017 The Bobcats were a Division II program in 1976, and Sonny Holland — the legendary former MSU lineman and coach — led them to playoff wins over New Hampshire, North Dakota State, and Akron in the championship game in Wichita Falls, Texas. During Holland's seven seasons at the helm, the Bobcats earned two Big Sky Conference championships and only lost to the Grizzlies once as they compiled a 47-28 record. He retired in 1977 and assistant Sonny Lubick took over.In 2016, the Bobcats unveiled a nine-foot tall statue of Holland outside Bobcat Stadium that the team passes by on their walk to each game. Holland holds the distinction of winning national championships in football both as a player (1956) and as a coach (1976). Montana State Athletics 1968-1970: Tom Parac Jan 30, 2021 Tom Parac was an assistant for the Bobcats for 11 seasons prior to becoming the head coach. The Lewistown native was a quarterback on the football field and guard on the basketball court for the Bobcats in the early 1950s before joining the coaching staff as a freshman coach in 1957. When he was named head coach in 1968, Parac led the Bobcats to a share of the Big Sky Conference title and a 6-4 record where he was named coach of the year. Overall his teams were 9-20 with two losses to the Grizzlies in three seasons.In 1970, he became the athletic director and served one season as both football coach and AD. His career in athletic administration stretched through the next four Bobcat coaches of Sonny Holland, Sonny Lubick, Doug Graber and Dave Arnold when he resigned in 1985.Parac's tenure as AD oversaw national football championships in 1976 and 1984 as well as the construction of Reno. H. Sales Stadium and the remodeling of Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. Gazette file photo 1963-67: Jim Sweeney Jan 30, 2021 Jim Sweeney was born and raised in Butte, and played football for Butte Central Catholic High School before attending the University of Portland. Upon his graduation, Sweeney returned to Butte to coach at Butte Central. He later became head coach at Flathead High in Kalispell before joining the college coaching ranks as an assistant at Montana State in 1960. After three seasons, Sweeney was promoted to head coach of the Bobcats which coincided with the creation of the Big Sky Conference. During his years in Bozeman, his team won three of the first five Big Sky Conference championships and went 31-20. He never lost to the Grizzlies in his five seasons at the helm.Sweeney went on to become head coach at Washington State, where he coached eight seasons before moving on to Fresno State. At Fresno State, Sweeney coached the Bulldogs to eight conference championships in a tenure that was sandwiched around assistant coaching gigs with the Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Cardinals. Sweeney retired from coaching in 1996 with a record that included 201 wins.During his time in Bozeman, the name changed from Montana State College to Montana State University in 1965. Eric Draper 1958-62: Herb Agocs Jan 30, 2021 Herb Agocs coached football and wrestling at Bainbridge Naval Base for two years before coming to Bozeman in 1956 as an end coach. Upon the resignation of Tony Storti at the end of 1957, he became head coach where the Bobcats earned a 31-13-2 record in five seasons with three victories over the Grizzlies.In 1962, he stepped down to handle the wrestling program and in 1964, he was named "Rookie College Wrestling Coach of the Year" by Amateur Wrestling News.He was inducted into the Montana State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990. Newspapers.com 1952-1953, 1956-1957: Tony Storti Feb 2, 2021 Pictured here third from the left, Tony Storti led the Bobcats to their first national championship, an NAIA title against St. Joseph's in 1956, during his second stint at the helm. The Bobcats went 10-0-1 that season.In 1957, his final season, the Bobcats joined the NCAA and went 8-2.His tenure was broken up by a venture into the insurance business, during which Bobcats basketball coach Walter Lemm (who later went on to serve as coach of the Houston Oilers and St. Louis Cardinals) stepped into serve as football coach. Storti returned to coaching in 1956 and spent his final year and a half also serving as Athletic Director. In Dec. 1957 he resigned from both positions to become director of personnel for American Securities Investment Co. MSU Exponent archive Tags Montana State University Montana State Bobcats Montana State Football More information Wyoming's Brent Vigen to be Montana State's next head coachJeff Choate on leaving Montana State: 'It's been hell of a ride'Taking a look at Montana State AD Leon Costello’s head coach hiring historySideline superstars: Montana's most famous football coachesMontana State believes Brent Vigen can lead Bobcats to national titleNotebook: Montana State reflects on coaching search process, recruiting future'I know the road map': Brent Vigen shares vision in first Montana State press conferenceNew Montana State head coach Brent Vigen signs four-year contractThree of a kind: A Montana State Bobcats national championship retrospectiveButte, Montana State football legend Sonny Holland dies at 84 Facebook Twitter WhatsApp SMS Email Print Copy article link Save Load comments × Post a comment as anonymous Emoticons [smile] [beam] [wink] [sad] [cool] [innocent] [rolleyes] [whistling] [lol] [huh] [tongue] [love] [sleeping] [yawn] [unsure] [angry] [blink] [crying] [ohmy] [scared] [sleep] [sneaky] [tongue_smile] [thumbdown] [thumbup] [censored] [happybirthday] [ban] [spam] [offtopic] [batman] [ninja] [pirate] [alien] Comment Text Cancel Post comment × Your comment has been submitted. anonymous × Report Cancel Report Abuse ×Reported ×There was a problem reporting this. × Watch this discussion. 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