MISSOULA — Colin Bonnicksen, Montana's director of football operations, is leaving the athletics industry, he told 406mtsports.com Saturday evening.

Bonnicksen has served in that role since 2015. He said his last day at UM is next Friday.

"I like competing. The games were always fun and the atmosphere in Washington-Grizzly Stadium is top notch and there's nothing better in college football if you ask me," Bonnicksen said. "But it's just time for me to move on to something else."

Bonnicksen said he saw an opportunity that he felt was a good fit and that the new career would be better for his family life. 

"It is a move that is better for not only myself but my family," Bonnicksen said. "College athletics is a little bit of a grind as far as schedules go. I was looking for something that allows me more time with my wife and my daughter. Little bit more of a work-life balance."

Bonnicksen said he's going to miss the "105 really awesome young men" on the football team and the coaching staff he's worked with, naming strength and conditioning coach Matt Nicholson, running backs coach Justin Green and safeties coach Shann Schillinger specifically. 

Before coming to Montana, Bonnicksen was the assistant athletic director for athletic communications at the Colorado School of Mines. He joined the Orediggers' sports information department in 2011. In 2013, he was named the RMAC Sports information director of the year. 

Bonnicksen came to Montana alongside former UM head coach Bob Stitt, who he worked with at Mines. Current UM head football coach Bobby Hauck retained Bonnicksen after Stitt's contract wasn't renewed following the 2017 season. 

"I've come to know Coach Hauck over the past six months. He's a really good guy," Bonnicksen said. "He's been nothing but great to me through this process."

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Amie Just covers Griz football and Missoula-area preps. Follow her on Twitter @Amie_Just or email her at Amie.Just@406mtsports.com.

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