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Montana football coach Robin Pflugrad probably found his new offensive coordinator back on Nov. 19, while his Grizzlies were dispatching top-ranked Montana State 36-10.

Timm Rosenbach was in Bobcat Stadium.

"He was at our hotel in Livingston," Pflugrad said Wednesday, after announcing that Rosenbach is replacing Jonathan Smith as his OC. "And he was on the sideline at the Montana State game. I think that kind of got him really thinking about wanting to get back in it. And now he is back in it."

"Rosie," a standout athlete at Missoula Hellgate before transferring when his father, the late Lynn Rosenbach, took a job at Washington State, has been in private business.

A star QB for the Cougars in 1988, Rosenbach last coached in 2009 at New Mexico State. He was the Aggies' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

The 45-year-old also was quarterbacks coach at Washington State from 2003-07 and offensive coordinator at Eastern Washington from 2001-02.

Pflugrad noted Rosenbach's ties to Missoula, where his father was the Griz running backs coach from 1980-82, as well as to the Pacific Northwest as pluses. The two also coached together at WSU from 2003-05.

"We liked everything that he brought us," Pflugrad said. "There were some very intriguing coaches that were interested, including some from the East. But Rosie's a Northwest guy and sometimes that kind of plays into staff chemistry and recruiting."

After setting Pac-10 records for total offense, passing yards (3,097) and touchdown passes (24) in 1988, Rosenbach was the second pick of the NFL's supplemental draft in 1989, by the Arizona Cardinals.

He started for the Cardinals in 1990 - taking every offensive snap - before injuries curtailed his pro career. He retired in 1995.

He didn't enter the coaching profession until 1999 with Ambrose University in Iowa. In 2000 he joined his Washington State teammate, Paul Wulff, on the Eastern Washington staff. He began as a part-time coach but was offensive coordinator by 2001, when the Eagles led the Football Championship Subdivision in total offense at 514.5 yards a game.

In 2002, Eastern averaged 447.7 yards per game to rank sixth nationally. Then he caught on at Washington State.

"I liked what he did at Eastern Washington," Pflugrad said. "I think he really helped develop Matt Kegel (at WSU) in his career, and he got a lot out of Alex Brink."

Brink left Washington State in 2007 with the third-most passing yards in Pac-12 history; ironically his ascension to starter led Josh Swogger - the 2004 starter - to transfer to the Griz in 2006.

In Rosenbach's first season at WSU, Kegel threw for 2,947 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior, his only season as a starter. The Cougars went to the Holiday Bowl that 2003 season and beat Texas to finish 10-3.

"He's going to bring a lot of energy to the program and to the coaching staff," said Kegel, a Havre native who now lives in Great Falls. "He's very knowledgeable on the offensive side of the ball. What I remember most is his dynamic way of thinking about spreading the ball around the field.

"He's going to take chances and go vertical. In the stands that's what we like to see and at Montana that's what we've seen through the years, and at Washington State under Coach (Mike) Price and Coach (Bill) Doma. Play smart football, but when you have the chance, take it."

"I always respected the job that Rosie did when we were together at Washington State," Pflugrad said. "He called all our plays for the three years I was with him."

Rosenbach is married to former professional volleyball player Kim Exner. They have a 5-year-old daughter, Reece Tammy. Attempts to reach Rosenbach Wednesday were unsuccessful.

His hiring leaves Pflugrad with one coaching spot to fill - safeties' coach.

"We're going to be able to hire a coach here shortly," Pflugrad said.

Montana opens its 2012 spring drills March 19.

Fritz Neighbor can be reached at 523-5247 or at fneighbor@missoulian.com.

 

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