By Lance Berndt
College Sports Journal
PHILADELPHIA, PA. — It has been just under 10 years since he packed up and left Missoula for Division I-A glory in Laramie, Wyoming.
Joe Glenn, the Montana Grizzlies’ head coach from 2000-2002, is finally returning to Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
However, he will be coaching on the wrong side of the field.
Joe Glenn was hired to be Montana’s head coach in 2000 after Mick Dennehy took off for ‘greener pastures’ with a head coaching gig at Utah State University.
Glenn was hired because of his impressive resume at Northern Colorado, which included 11 straight winning seasons, seven NCAA Division II Playoff appearances, and two national championships.
He had simply forgotten how to be a losing coach, and that was perfect for the tradition Don Read and Mick Dennehy had been building at Montana.
The Joe Glenn era started with a loss at home against Hofstra, but the Grizzlies would go on to win 38 of their next 40 games over three seasons.
The Grizzlies' two losses in that span were to Georgia Southern in the 2000 Division I-AA National Championship game, and Hawaii, who had one of the most prolific passing quarterbacks in college football history in Timmy Chang.
That impressive span also included a Montana Grizzly National Championship in 2001, the honor that Joe Glenn will forever be remembered by in Montana’s illustrious football history.
The 2002 season for Glenn’s Grizzlies ended with three losses in their last four games, but that had been preceded by a dominating 24-game winning streak.
In the offseason, Glenn was offered an “upgrade” which he decided not to refuse.He accepted the head coaching position at the University of Wyoming, a Division I-A football program.
He had the makings of a legend, but too short of a stay in Laramie.
However, now he’s back. Earlier this past winter, he stepped out of retirement to take the head position at his alma mater, the University of South Dakota. They’re at the end of a transition into Division I football and will be starting their first season in the stingy Missouri Valley Football Conference.
Washington-Grizzly Stadium now holds about 6,000 more people than when Glenn last coached in Missoula, and it will very likely be a lot louder than he remembers considering the 25,000 fans will be cheering against him.
Joe Glenn will start his 25th season as a college football Head Coach this Saturday afternoon in Missoula, but he will do something he’s never done before, head coach against the Montana Grizzlies.
As the 2012 season starts for both the South Dakota Coyotes and the Montana Grizzlies, Washington-Grizzly Stadium will be just as loud as usual.
Joe Glenn may be standing on the wrong sideline, but the raucous Griz fans will still be hoping that he will make them happy.