Montana interim coach Mick Delaney said he will serve as the Grizzlies’ head football coach through the 2012 season.
Delaney was named interim coach last Friday by UM President Royce Engstrom after former coach Robin Pflugrad was fired the day prior. There was some question of how long Delaney would serve as interim head coach and university officials would not comment this week.
Delaney answered that question Thursday afternoon.
“I’ll be the coach through the season,” Delaney said. “I would not have taken the position if there was going to be a change in the summer.
“If we are going to do this to the best of our ability – the coaches, myself and the administration – I need to be there through the entire season.”
Delaney, 69, had been on the Grizzlies’ coaching staff for the past four seasons, the last two under Pflugrad. He retired in February after 44 seasons on the sideline before Engstrom asked him to come back to take the interim job at UM.
This is Delaney’s first head coaching job since he guided his alma mater, UM Western, in 1991-92. Prior to that Delaney was the head coach at Great Falls High in the mid-1970s.
The Grizzlies are in the midst of spring drills and had a practice scheduled for the day after Engstrom fired Pflugrad and athletic director Jim O’Day, citing the need for “a change in leadership.”
The university is on spring break this week. Delaney is currently at The Masters in Augusta, Ga., but will join the team when it returns to the field for practice Tuesday afternoon.
Delaney stressed the importance of his familiarity with the current coaching staff as a factor in keeping the status quo at Montana.
“I think it’s tremendously important,” he said. “I would not have considered accepting this challenge had the staff not told me one by one that they support me. And I support them 100 percent.
“It would have been an impossible task to bring a coach in and not have a staff in place. This is a very good staff and I’m excited to work with them and do what we’ve been asked to do.”