MISSOULA — Dave Dickenson hasn't been to Missoula in several years, but that's about to change.
Dickenson will be honored by the University of Montana and the National Football Foundation on Sept. 22 to celebrate his upcoming induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.
"I'm excited to be coming home to Montana with my family. It will be a day in my life that I will never forget. It is the perfect setting to celebrate my induction into the College Football Hall of Fame," Dickenson said in a news release.
"The Dickenson family has never forgotten the support of Griz Nation, and we cherish any chance we get to come back to Missoula and watch the Griz make Montana proud. I can't wait to get together with friends and reminisce about the best times of my life. Once a Griz, always a Griz."
Dickenson, now the head coach of the CFL's Calgary Stampeders, and his family will be recognized during the Sacramento State game as a part of the NFF On-Campus Salute program.
"Dave's a good friend and is certainly the most recognized and one of the greatest — if not the greatest — player in our program's history," UM coach Bobby Hauck said ahead of Friday's practice. "There's a reason why his number's retired and is one of only two. We're excited, for me personally, to have him back and have him around."
In honor of Dickenson, the Grizzlies will suit up in copper and gold throwback jerseys. Montana did away with the copper and gold after the 1995 season, changing the colors to maroon and silver.
Montana has suited up in copper and gold alternates twice since the change. Most memorably, Montana wore the copper and golds for the first time since the 1995 championship game against Montana State in 2008 and stomped the Bobcats 35-3.
Montana last wore copper alternate uniforms — with white helmets, not the traditional gold ones — for the homecoming game in 2015 against Northern Arizona.
The limited-edition gear will soon be available for purchase at various retailers: The M Store, the UM Bookstore, Universal Athletic, GoGriz.com, Bob Ward's, Scheels in Billings and Great Falls, and online at Fanatics.com. The apparel will only be available through the rest of the calendar year.
Come Dec 4. 2018, Dickenson will have nearly every possible accolade a college football quarterback can own.
He's won the Walter Payton Award. He earned All-American status twice and Academic All-American status three times. He led Montana football to its first national title in 1995. He was the Big Sky Offensive MVP three times. He was a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete. All of which earned him the nickname "Super Dave."
In his four years at Montana, Dickenson compiled a career so legendary that his No. 15 is retired.
Dickenson accumulated 11,523 total yards, including 11,080 yards passing with 96 passing touchdowns. He capped off his career with a comeback win over Marshall to take home the national championship.
Dickenson still holds 20 school records, including eight Big Sky Conference records and two FCS records.
Dickenson, a Great Falls native, will be the second Montana Grizzly enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
"To think back to those times, I still have those friends and great experiences, but living away from Montana in Canada now, I do sometimes reach out for that connection to Montana. Something like this really helps bring me back closer to the program," Dickenson told 406mtsports.com back in January. "It makes me feel good about being part of the Griz and Griz Nation."
The only other Grizzly in the College Football Hall of Fame is quarterback William "Wild Bill" Kelly. He suited up for Montana from 1924 to 1926. He was inducted posthumously in 1969.
Dickenson joins Trevor Cobb (RB, Rice, 1989-92), Terry Collins (QB, Penn State, 1991-94), Dana Howard (LB, Illinois, 1991-94), Calvin Johnson (WR, Georgia Tech, 2004-06), Paul Palmer (RB, Temple, 1983-86), Ed Reed (DB, Miami [Fl.], 1998-2001), Matt Stinchcomb (OT, Georgia, 1995-98), Aaron Taylor (C/OG, Nebraska, 1994-97) and Charles Woodson (DB, Michigan, 1995-97) as players in the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame Class.
Coaches entering the Hall of Fame this year are Frank Beamer, Mack Brown and Mel Tjeerdsma.
Some 997 players and 217 coaches have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. That is less than .02 percent of all players and coaches who've been a part of the game since the sport's inception almost 150 years ago.
The induction ceremony is Dec. 4, 2018, in New York City.