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MISSOULA — Dave Dickenson thought nothing of a box he received in December.

He thought the package contained another Christmas gift for one of his kids. But this present was for him.

"I thought it was Amazon, with all the rest of the Christmas gifts," Dickenson told on Monday. " ... I just stuck it on the shelf. I thought it was a present for my kids.

"My wife opened up the box later that night and there was a football in there and it says, 'Congratulations, you're part of the 2018 Hall of Fame class.' It was pretty unexpected. It made my holidays, for sure."

Come Dec 4. 2018, Dickenson will have nearly every possible accolade a college football quarterback can.  

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."

Now, Dickenson, a Great Falls native, will be the second Montana Grizzly enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. 

"It hasn't really set in yet," Dickenson said, referring to how the ceremony is several months away. " ... I'm a coach now so I try to tell these guys, 'I was a pretty decent player back in my day.' The 'back in my day' keeps going farther back and back.

"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. It makes me feel good about being part of the Griz and Griz Nation."

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. 

"I'm happy that the NCAA does include smaller school guys," Dickenson said. "You feel like you're still a part of that group, the NCAA. We're doing some special things at our level as well. I know I'm not as good as some of those other players, but I do think our team and the state of Montana, we did some special things.

"I feel like we brought that whole conference, at the time I was there, we brought it up a level. Our facilities are amazing. Our fan support's amazing. Winning that national championship and letting Don Read retire — I thought that was just a pretty special moment. For the NCAA to recognize myself out of that group is really cool and amazing and is something I'm very proud of."

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. 

Even now, Dickenson still credits his teammates for his success.

"I preach it's the number one team game of all the sports, I believe," Dickenson said about football. "The quarterback gets all the credit and the head coach, but you don't win without having those great offensive and defensive lines and skill players. Our guys, we just found a way to get it done."

Dickenson had a 12-season professional football career. He was the Canadian Football League's MVP in 2000 as a Calgary Stampeder, and won three Grey Cups as a player in 1998, 2006 and 2008. He was named the Grey Cup's MVP in 2006. He was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame as a player in 2015. 

Dickenson is currently the head coach of the Stampeders and took them to the Grey Cup the past two seasons. In his first year as head coach in 2016, he won the CFL's Coach of the Year award. His contract in Calgary runs through the 2020 CFL season. 

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 and his fellow class members were chosen out of a national ballot of 75 All-American players.

To be inducted in to the Hall of Fame as a player, they must have been a first-team All-American by an organization recognized by the NCAA. Players are eligible to be considered 10 full seasons after their final year of college football has been played but also, they must have played their last year of college football within the past 50 years. 

"We are extremely proud to announce the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame Class," said Archie Manning, NFF Chairman and Hall of Famer, in a news release. "Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played or coached the game, and we look forward to immortalizing their incredible accomplishments."

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. 

This story has been updated.

Amie Just covers Griz football for the Missoulian, among other things. Follow her on Twitter @Amie_Just or email her at

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