Montana Western took to the road again for the second straight weekend, this time they headed to Lewiston, Idaho for the LC State Red Lion Classic. (read more)
The University of Montana Western volleyball team dropped their final two matches at the Eastern Oregon Invitational. (read more)
The Bulldogs won their first match against Corban University and dropped their second match against Northwest University. (read more)
Bulldogs basketball first signing of the 2016-17 recruiting class. (read more)
The University of Montana Western Bulldogs football team received nine votes to earn a #26 national ranking in the 2015 NAIA Football Coaches’ Preseason Poll. (read more)
Bulldog football benefits from guest coach
The University of Montana Western football team had a very special guest coach during their fall camp and two-a-days session. A guest coach with a head coaching stint at a Junior College, experience at five NCAA Division 1 schools and more than 25 years of professional coaching, 22 in the National Football League and four in the Canadian Football League.
George Dyer, is referred to as “Coach” by those who knew, spent the better part of three weeks on the practice fields and in the film rooms with the players and coaches of the Bulldog football team.
Coach Dyer’s resume is full of big name schools, working with big name coaches, and winning the biggest game of them all; an NFL World Championship, the Super Bowl.
Although reaching the pinnacle of your respective sport as a coach never has an easy road, or a straight road for that matter. Dyer made a lot of pit stops on his way to the top, all of which helped form him into the coach and person that he is today; hard-nosed, hard-working, full of knowledge, and a great teacher.
Dyer, who hails from San Gabriel, Calif., played college football at Mount San Antonio junior college in Walnut, Calif., before transferring to finish his playing career at the University of California-Santa Barbra.
After graduating from UC-Santa Barbra, Dyer coached at Humboldt State University, where he earned a Master’s degree in Physical Education.
Humboldt State was Dyer’s first of many stops on his road to the Super Bowl, Dyer coached at all of the following schools: Head Coach (HC) at Colinga College, now West Hills College, Defensive Coordinator (DC) at Portland State, Defensive Line coach (DL) at the University of Idaho, Linebackers coach (LB) at San Jose State, Dyer then took a small hiatus from college football and served as the DC for the professional Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL, he returned to the college ranks as the LB coach then DC at Michigan State, and the DC at Arizona State before starting a 22-year stint in the NFL.
Dyer began his NFL coaching career with the Buffalo Bills in 1982, where he worked under head coach Chuck Knox, the duo spent one season in Buffalo. Following the 1982 season Dyer followed Knox to the Seattle Seahawks, where they made four playoff appearances and won an AFC West divisional title in 1988. Dyer spent eight seasons in Seattle as the defensive line coach, three with the LA Rams as the defensive coordinator and 13 overall as an assistant coach with Knox before parting ways after the 1994 season.
“Chuck is and was one of the true ‘real’ coaches of the NFL,” stated Dyer, “he was tough, hard-nosed, a great coach, and a great man.”
Following his tenure with Chuck Knox, Dyer joined Mike Shanahan with the Denver Broncos as the defensive line coach. During his time with the Denver Broncos, Dyer was a part of two Super Bowl championship teams in 1997 and 1998, and had five playoff appearances.
Coach Dyer on being a Super Bowl champion, “winning the Super Bowl was great, the greatest coaching achievement.”
Dyer spent eight seasons as an assistant coach under Mike Shanahan in Denver, his final as Assistant to the Head Coach.
Dyer’s final season in the NFL was in 2003 with the Detroit Lions.
After an eight-year break from coaching, Dyer returned to the CFL as the defensive line coach for the Toronto Argonauts in 2010 and 2011, where he coached CFL all-star Kevin Huntley.
During Dyer’s coaching career, he had the privilege of coaching hundreds of professional athletes; watching them come into the league as young 21-year old kids, getting married, starting families, and retire. Some of the notable players he mentioned having great relationships with were; Jacob Green a two-time Pro Bowl selection and over 100 career sacks, Joe Nash a Pro Bowl selection and Jeff Bryant who recorded 63 career sacks, all were with Dyer all nine seasons in Seattle. There were three players in Denver that Dyer made connections with as well, All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection Alfred William, two-time Super Bowl champion Keith Traylor and two-time sack leader and Super Bowl champion Ma’a Tanuvasa.
Coach Dyer brought a wealth of knowledge to the Montana Western football team and coaching staff. He first connected with Western in the early 1990’s, through head coach Bob Beers, he originally met Beers at the University of Montana.
Current head football coach BJ Robertson was introduced to Dyer through Beers, who then invited him back to Western to help out with the team.
2015 is the second straight year that Dyer has been to Western to help out with fall camp.
The thing that means the most to Dyer about being at Montana Western is being able to be around the game and more importantly, being with the kids.
“I love the kids, they know what work is, no entitlement, they want to learn,” Dyer continued, “they are tough, have a great work ethic and they are real good people. I love being around them.”
There was no one that benefited from having Dyer around more than former Montana Western standout and first-year defensive line coach, Phil Selin. “Phil was a great player to coach, and he is going to be an even better coach.”
Coach Dyer’s season outlook for the 2015 Montana Western football team,
“I think they are going to be really good, I don’t think there is anyone they can’t beat,” said Dyer, “they have to stay healthy and have a little bit of luck and they will have a good chance to be special.”
Dyer continued, “They have a true team, they have great cohesiveness and a family bond, Western has a football team and no one can take that away.”
Despite the many places that Dyer has lived and coached, he has always had his family to go home to. George and his wife of 51 years, Marj, have three daughters and two sons who have gifted them with 14 grandchildren. Dyer explained that his bond with his grandchildren is much different than the relationship with his children. He could have tough love with his children, but no one can mess with his grandchildren.
“Grandkids are the greatest,” stated Dyer.
Coach Dyer and his wife Marj now reside in Parker, Colo., 25 miles southeast of Denver.
Bulldog volleyball wins two of three at Red Lion Classic
For the second consecutive week, the Bulldogs started their preseason tournament with a win, this time a hard-fought, five set, victory over the University of Saint Francis from Fort Wayne, Ind. In a back and forth affair, that saw no team win two consecutive sets, Montana Western prevailed 25-23, 21-25, 25-22, 20-25, 15-12.
On offense, Montana Western had a hitting percentage of .254 in the match, including a .326 in the third set. The Bulldogs were led by freshman Cady Siemion, who recorded 22 kills and 20 digs in the match and had a hitting percentage of .340 on 50 total attacks.
Siemion now has two matches early in the season with 20-plus kills, a phenomenal start for the true freshman from Huntley, Mont.
“Cady is off to a great start and handling a big load for us. She came with championship experience from high school and she plays and swings fearlessly,” stated Coach Lisa Griffiths, “I love her energy and her willingness to play a lot of different positions.”
Montana Western saw three other players have 10 or more kills in the match to join Siemion; Joanna Avery (16), Tessa Miller (11) and Bailey Wilson (10). Setters Sierra Cahill and Callie Hanson again split the setting duties, tallying 34 and 29 assists respectively.
Defensively, freshman Dylan Fowler led the way again. Fowler recorded 22 digs to lead five players with double digits the category; Brianna DeCock (13), Wilson (11), Cahill (12) and Siemion (20).
Saint Francis was held to a .209 hitting percentage, and a .109 in the pivotal third set, by the Bulldog defense. Griffiths was very pleased with the play at the net and the floor defenders.
“They challenged our defense with a lot of different hitters,” said Griffiths, “but our floor defenders stepped up to the challenge and we got some key blocks from both of our middles and Bailey Wilson.”
The Bulldogs had three players record double-doubles in the match; Siemion, Wilson and Cahill.
Following a four hour break, Montana Western hit the floor again to take on the Evergreen State Geoducks from Olympia, Wash.
Everything seemed to go the Bulldogs way on Friday as they continued to hit well, finishing with a .314 (42-10-102) mark against Evergreen State, while holding the Geoducks to a .207 (43-18-121) attack. Montana Western tallied 40 assists, five aces and five blocks in a three-set sweep.
Montana Western made quick work of Evergreen State, winning 25-21, 25-19, 26-24.
Siemion had another double-double, tallying 10 kills and 14 digs, to lead the way for Montana Western. Fowler continued her dominant floor defense at the Libero position recording 16 digs. Sophomore middle blocker Joanna Avery had a good match collecting 10 kills on 14 attempts with two errors for a hitting percentage of .571, Avery also added in a solo block and three block assists. Hanson tallied 37 assists and seven digs from her setter position.
Montana Western finished the first day with an undefeated 2-0 record, putting their season record at 3-3 in the young season.
Saturday morning, started much differently than Friday’s matches as they took on the Northwest University Eagles from Kirkland, Wash.
The Bulldogs were forced into 29 hitting errors and .064 hitting percentage in the match, as they fell in straight sets, 20-25, 12-25, 24-26.
Defensively the Bulldogs made the Eagles work for every point, forcing them into 12 hitting errors and a .183 hitting percentage, the lowest the Bulldogs have allowed on the season. Dylan Fowler again recorded 20 digs to lead the floor defense. Fowler was named to the all-tournament team for her performances during the weekend. Cady Siemion chipped in with 13 digs to continue her impressive start to her freshman season.
Despite the good defense, Montana Western was unable to overcome its offensive woes and seven service errors. Tessa Miller, nine kills, and Brittany Erickson, seven kills, led the in the match. Sierra Cahill and Callie Hanson tallied 13 and 14 assists respectively. Montana Western recorded 37 assists on its 38 kills in the match.
Montana Western fell to 2-1 in the tournament and 3-4 on the young season.
Their fourth match of the tournament was moved to a scrimmage following a power outage in the Lewis-Clark State College gym.
The Bulldogs will return to play on September 11-12, when they travel to Hastings, Neb., to face Peru State, Concordia, MidAmerica Nazerene University and Midland University.
Four Bulldogs named NAIA Preseason All-Americans
Senior Offensive Lineman, Will Thacker of Winnemucca, Nev. received First Team recognition. Senior Linebackers, Joe Coker and AJ Wilson, from Helena, Mont., and junior running back Sam Rutherford, from Centerville, Mont. received Second Team honors.
All four players are returning Frontier Conference all-conference selections from the 2014 football season.
For all American Football Network NAIA All-American selections go to http://www.americanfootballnetworks.com/15DNAIA-Pre.htm.
Montana Western will take the field for the 2015 season on September 5th, to take on Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Mont., kick-off will be at 1 p.m.
Bulldog Basketball signs Butte High standout
Montana Western head basketball coach has announced the signing of Brian Smith, a 6-foot guard from Butte, Mont. to an NAIA Letter of Intent.
“We are excited Brian Smith had decided to join our basketball program at Montana Western,” stated Coach Keller, “Brian has been a three year starter at Butte High School, and he has good ball skills and can shoot the three point shot.”
Smith was selected second team all-conference his senior year, after averaging almost 14 points and three assists per game.
Smith played for Chad Jonart and former Montana Western standout Terry Hauser while at Butte High School.
Brian Smith is the son of Eileen Joyce and plans to major in psychology and sociology.
Bulldogs drop last two matches at Eastern Oregon Invitational
The Bulldogs opened the day with a hard-fought loss to Oregon Tech in five sets, in which no set was won by more than three points. In their second match of the day, Montana Western took on tournament hosts Eastern Oregon, falling in three sets to the Mountaineers.
In the match against Oregon Tech, Montana Western took the first set 25-23, then dropped the second and third sets by scores of 22-25 and 23-25. In the fourth set, Montana Western rallied together to force a fifth and final set, 25-23. In the deciding fifth set, Oregon Tech jumped out to a big 9-3 lead, only to see the Bulldogs roar back with a 6-1 run making the score 10-9 in favor of the Owls. The set went back and forth only to see the Owls take the set with a score of 16-14 and ultimately the match, 3-2.
Montana Western was led on offense by freshman Cady Siemion, who recorded 21 kills and had a hitting percentage of .341. Junior Callie Hanson and freshman Sierra Cahill combined for 47 assists from the setter position with 29 and 18 assists respectively.
Defensively, Dylan Fowler led the Bulldogs with 12 digs, her third straight game with double digits in digs, and the second time in three games to lead the team in that category. Junior Brittany Erickson was once again solid at the night, leading the Bulldogs with one solo block and three block assists. Erickson leads the team in both categories.
Despite a hitting percentage of .254 Montana Western was unable to overcome the 27 and 23 kills from the Oregon Tech outside hitters, Kelsey Sampson and Kristin Depaoli.
After an extended break, tournament hosts and No. 6 Eastern Oregon proved to be a tough match-up for the young Bulldogs. EOU won in three sets, 22-25, 12-25 and 27-29.
Junior outside hitter Bailey Wilson paced the Bulldogs with 10 kills and eight digs, while libero Dylan Fowler again led the team with 15 digs.
The difference in the match was in hitting percentage and blocks. EOU hit .265 and collected 18 blocks in comparison to Montana Western’s .109 hitting percentage and six blocks.
Montana Western finished the weekend with one win and three losses, but saw great performances out of a very young team, that played five freshmen and a junior college transfer.
The Bulldogs will return to action Aug. 28-29 for the LC State Red Lion Classic in Lewiston, Idaho, at 11 a.m. MDT.
Bulldog volleyball splits first day at Eastern Oregon
The 2015 Montana Western volleyball team started with new season by splitting a pair of games at the Eastern Oregon Invitational in La Grande, Ore. on Friday.
In the season opener, the Bulldogs won in straight sets 25-13, 25-13, 28-26 to earn a sweep over Corban University.
Freshmen setter Sierra Cahill led Montana Western with 21 assists, fellow freshmen Dylan Fowler led the team with 15 digs in her debut as a Bulldog.
Montana Western had a balanced offensive attack that saw five players record 5-plus kills; Tessa Miller (5), Sierra Cahill (5), Bailey Wilson (6), and Joanna Avery (5). Jami Flink also recorded 3 service aces to lead the Bulldogs in that category.
Defensively at the net, Montana Western was tough to hit around as Miller, Avery, and Brittany Erickson combined for 12 blocks in the match. When the Warriors from Corban University were able to get it past the front line, defense was in position to keep the ball alive as a trio of Bulldogs recorded double digit digs; Fowler (15), Wilson (10), and freshmen Cady Siemion (10) in her first college match.
As a team, Montana Western had a .13 hitting percentage in comparison to a negative .043 for Corban. The Bulldogs hit an outstanding .333 in the first set of the match.
After a lay-off of less than four hours, Montana Western returned to the court to face Northwest University. In their second match of the day, Montana Western started slow, dropping the first two sets, but regrouped to win the third set before eventually falling in the fourth. Scores against Northwest were 16-25, 18-25, 25-14 and 23-25.
A slow start hurt the Bulldogs in their second match of the day, as they dropped the first two sets with scores of 16-25 and 18-25 respectively. They bounced back to have a hitting percentage of .209 in a 25-14 win of the third set. The Bulldogs then jumped out to an early 6-2 lead and then extended it with the score 18-12 in the fourth set, forcing Northwest to call a timeout. Following the timeout the Eagles finished the set and match with a 13-5 run, making the final score 23-25.
The Bulldogs were led by junior transfer, Callie Hanson, who recorded a double-double in her first career match for Montana Western. Hanson notched 23 assists and 20 digs, both which were team highs.
Defensively, Montana Western saw Dylan Fowler and Cady Siemion collect 15 and 16 digs respectively to go along with Hanson's 20.
On offense the Bulldogs had a hitting percentage of .125 for the match and had two hitters collect double digit kills, Bailey Wilson and Tessa Miller each collected 10 kills exactly. Sophomore Brianna DeCock added in 3 service aces for Montana Western.
Montana Western will continue play tomorrow at 9 a.m. MDT against Oregon Tech. Follow the Bulldogs at http://portal.stretchinternet.com/eou/.
Western basketball signs first recruit of 2016-17 class
Montana Western men’s basketball coach Steve Keller is excited to announce to signing of Derrek Durocher to an NAIA Letter of Intent. Durocher, who is getting ready to start his senior year of high school, will join the Bulldog basketball program in the fall of 2016.
Durocher, a 5-foot-11 guard from Choteau, Mont., helped lead Choteau High School to a 2014-15 state basketball championship, where he was named the tournament’s MVP. During his junior campaign he averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game. On top of his ability to pack the stat sheet every night, Durocher also shot nearly 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from behind the three point line and 85 percent from the charity stripe.
“Derrek is one of the best three point shooters coming out of Montana this next year and we believe he will be a very good player in our league down the road” said Coach Keller.
For Durocher, signing an NAIA Letter of Intent before the start of his senior year was an easy choice. “There is no doubt that signing before the start of my senior year will help me play more relaxed in the coming season,” said an ecstatic Durocher, “the feeling of knowing you have to play well to try and find a home at a college can be stressful,” he continued.
Other than the weight that has been lifted off of Durocher’s shoulders in the coming season, his decision to sign with Montana Western required more than one factor.
“There were a few key factors to making my decision to sign with Western,” started Durocher, “I am very interested in Sports Medicine and I know that the biology and health and human performance programs are very good, on my tour I loved the campus and the school,” he continued, “and of course, the success of the basketball program is important to me.”
In Choteau, Durocher plays for former Montana Western star, Matt Luedtke. His connections to Montana Western run much deeper than his high school basketball coach though.
Derrek’s father, Jody Durocher and Uncle Bill Durocher, played football at Montana Western, and his cousin Danielle Baeth played basketball for the Bulldogs.
Durocher is the son of Jody and Joeleen Durocher and carries a 3.85 GPA.
“I am very excited to join the Western family in the fall of 2016; to play basketball and meet new people and have a great school experience,” finished a happy Derrek Durocher.
Bulldog football ready to kick-off the 2015 season
The recognition comes after a strong finish to the 2014 football season that saw Montana Western win its last four contests, including a 60-15 rout over MSU-Northern in the season finale. The Bulldogs finished with a 6-4 conference record and a #27 ranking in the final NAIA Football Coaches Poll of 2014.
Third-year head coach BJ Robertson, felt honored that the team was recognized by voters, although he understands that the votes come from the end of the 2014 season and Montana Western is ready for the 2015 season.
“We hope to ride that momentum into the 2015 season but this is Team 84 not Team 83. Team 84 wants to be ranked in the polls at the end of the season when it counts,” said Coach Robertson.
This years’ team will have a very different look to it after losing three Frontier Conference selections, offensive linemen Nick Brown and defensive end Phil Selin, who are both returning to the sideline as coaches in 2015, and All-American safety Jesse McCloud. The Bulldogs will also look to replace two-year starting quarterback Tyler Hulse.
Despite the losses of some very talented players, Montana Western returns four Frontier all-conference selections in 2015; second team selections Sam Rutherford a junior from Centerville, Mont. coming off the first 1,000 yard rushing season in Montana Western history, senior linebackers Joe Coker and AJ Wilson from Helena, Mont., and first team honoree, offensive linemen Will Thacker from Winnemucca, Nev., as well as a solid core of returning players.
Offensively the Bulldogs will be led by Co-captains Will Thacker and senior running back from Laurel, Mont. Dylan Kramer. Kramer has been a staple of the Bulldog football team for the past three seasons. He has compiled 2,880 career all-purpose yards and 12 total touchdowns during his career, which includes 908 yards of total offense and six touchdowns as a true freshmen. The offense will also return their leading receiver from the 2014 campaign, junior Beau Brekke from Salmon, Idaho. Brekke compiled over 600 yards on 40 receptions and collected six touchdowns as a sophomore.
On defense, Montana Western will be led by Co-captains AJ Wilson and senior defensive back Dakota Pineda from Idaho Falls, Idaho. The entire linebacker crew returns from the 2014 season to join all-conference selections AJ Wilson and Joe Coker, including seniors TJ Benson from Libby, Mont. and Dakota Wainwright from Palmer, Alaska who led the Bulldogs with 78 and 72 tackles respectively. Benson returned his only interception for a touchdown.
There will be familiar faces on the field for the Montana Western special teams as both the starting punter, George Sherwood a sophomore from Kalispell, Mont., and kicker, junior Connor Greth from Minden, Nev., return for the 2015 season. Sherwood averaged 38.6 yards per punt in his 36 attempts in 2014 and had five punts of 50+ yards, including a long of 55 yards. Greth connected on 32 extra points and 10 field goals last season to score 62 points for the Bulldogs, he has a career long field goal of 47 yards.
Even with all of the returning talent, national recognition in the polls, and high expectations that the Bulldogs have set for themselves, they understand the rigors of playing in the Frontier Conference, which has three teams ranked inside the Top 15; #1 Southern Oregon, #4 Carroll College, and #15 Eastern Oregon University.
“Every week you have to be ready to give it your best. Nothing but your best will be good enough in this league,” said Robertson, “the next step in our program is being consistent week in and week out. If we can do that we have a chance,” he continued.
The challenge the Frontier Conference has to offer is one that Montana Western is ready to take head on behind the leadership of 22 seniors. Coach Robertson expects this large group of seniors to demonstrate the pride, hard work, and physicality it takes to be competitive every week in the Frontier Conference.
Montana Western will open its season on September 5th at Rocky Mountain College, kickoff will be at 1 p.m.
The home opener will be on September 12th again College of Idaho, kickoff will be at 1 p.m.
For more information about the NAIA Coaches’ Preseason Poll use the following link:
Young Bulldogs look to embrace underdog role
The University of Montana Western Bulldogs volleyball team is eager to embrace the underdog role for the 2015 volleyball season.
Montana Western has one senior on their young roster, Mikayla Ness a 5-foot-10-inch outside hitter/right side hitter from Spokane, Wash. The Bulldogs list eight freshmen on their roster and a junior college transfer.
Coach Lisa Griffiths, who is in her fifth season at Montana Western, is looking forward to the challenges they will face this year.
"With so many young and new players, it's no surprise that the other coaches in the Frontier don't know what to expect," stated Griffiths, "We are prepared to use that to our advantage, keep our heads down, and do our best to surprise people."
Despite all the new players on the Bulldogs roster, they return experience, size, and talent from last year’s squad. Montana Western returns sophomore libero, Brianna DeCock who played in all 98 games as a true freshmen, 6-foot sophomore middle blocker, Tessa Miller, 5-11 junior Bailey Wilson, a two-year starter, and Frontier Conference all-conference recipient, 6-foot sophomore middle blocker, Joanna Avery.
The addition of so many new faces can be a difficult task to face, although the Bulldogs are eager to overcome it. "We are just starting practice but the new energy and competitiveness is exciting. The team is up for the challenge of learning new things, figuring how to work together, and they are challenging each other already," stated an optimistic Coach Griffiths.
Montana Western finished 2014 with an overall record of 11-16, a win total increase from their previous three seasons.
Lewis-Clark State edged defending conference and tournament champion Rocky Mountain College as the favorite of the league’s volleyball coaches to win the conference title for the 2015 season. Both teams received three first place votes as the Warriors edged Rocky 33 to 31 points in the voting. Carroll College is third with 27 points. Montana Tech and the University of Great Falls tied for fourth with 19 points each followed by Montana Western and MSU-Northern with nine points each. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.
First place was worth six points, second place worth five points, third place worth four points, fourth place worth three points, fifth place worth two points and sixth place worth one point.
Lewis-Clark State (3) 33 pts
Rocky Mountain (3) 31 pts
Carroll College 27 pts
Montana Tech 19 pts
University of Great Falls 19 pts
Montana Western 9 pts
MSU-Northern 9 pts
Bulldog football picked to finish 5th
Defending Frontier Conference champion Carroll College is the preseason favorite to win the 2015 football championship in a poll of the league’s coaches. Carroll received five first place votes.
Defending NAIA national champion Southern Oregon received three first place votes and is picked to finish second followed by Eastern Oregon and Rocky Mountain College. Montana Western is fifth followed by College of Idaho and Montana Tech in a tie for sixth and then MSU-Northern.
Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams. First place was worth seven points, second place worth six points, third place worth five points, fourth place worth four points, fifth place worth three points, sixth place worth two points and seventh place worth one point.
- Carroll College (5) 47 points
- Southern Oregon (3) 44 points
- Eastern Oregon 36 points
- Rocky Mountain 28 points
- Montana Western 27 points
- College of Idaho 16 points
- Montana Tech 16 points
- MSU-Northern 10 points