Story from Montana Sports Information
It’s safe to say Matt Troxel knows as much about Montana football as anyone after playing wide receiver for the Grizzlies in the mid-2000s and spending much of his childhood in Missoula.
And if you’re a long-time follower of Montana football, the Troxel name will be familiar to you. That’s because Matt’s father Van Troxel played quarterback for the Griz in the 70s and coached at Missoula Hellgate before moving on to Lake City High School in Coeur ‘d Alene.
Matt’s grandfather Joe Roberts also played for the Griz and was a team captain in 1953. His other grandfather Ed Troxel was also a coach at the University of Idaho in the 70s.
Griz fans will become familiar with the Troxel name once again in 2017, as Idaho State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Matt Troxel has been hired by Montana head football coach Bob Stitt to coach the Grizzlies’ inside receivers.
“I’m excited to be a Griz again, excited to come home, and excited to come work for Coach Stitt. It’s a special place to me – Missoula, the University of Montana – I can’t wait to be back home,” said Troxel, who is currently in Pocatello preparing to move his family to Missoula.
“To me, it’s such a special place that you kind of drop everything you’re doing if you have a chance to come home and help win national championships and Big Sky championships.”
Troxel returns to Montana after spending six seasons under Bengal head coach Mike Kramer. At ISU, he worked his way up the coaching ladder as a tight ends coach in 2011, special teams coordinator and inside receiver coach in 2012, offensive line coach from 2013-2015, and offensive coordinator and quarterback coach in 2016.
At UM, Troxel will replace outside receivers coach Nolan Swett, who recently left the program to pursue other opportunities.
Troxel literally wrote the book on coaching receivers, publishing the title: Coaching Wide Receiver Play in 2012, a book that instructs coaches on the fundamental techniques of the position.
His knowledge of the position showed as the OC for Idaho State in 2016 when the Bengals produced the nation’s second-best red zone offense and piled up 44 points and 520 yards of total offense against the Griz.
Stitt says that kind of experience, and his deep familiarity with the team and its culture mesh well with his vision for the Grizzlies.
“He understands what it is to be part of this program having been a player, how important it is, and the tradition we need to uphold,” said Stitt.
“He’s a very talented football coach, so it will be great to have his mind in our offensive room.”
Troxel now joins his friend, former co-assistant coach at ISU, and former teammate Mike Ferriter in the receiver’s room at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. Ferriter will take over as the team’s pass game coordinator and outside receivers coach, while Troxel will coach the inside receivers.
Troxel was part of Montana’s 2004 recruiting class, coming to Missoula as a first team all-state running back out of Lake City HS in Coeur d’ Alene where he played for his father. Ferriter was also a part of that recruiting class, along with future NFL prospects Kroy Biermann, Dan Carpenter, and Jimmy Wilson.
That was a group of tough players for the Griz, and as the inside receivers coach, Troxel hopes to bring that sense of toughness and physical play to his new position group at Montana.
“My philosophy is: we play fast, we play physical, and we play sound. I think they (the fans) are really going to enjoy what they see from the wide outs in how much passion they have, how much emotion they have, and how much they care about each other.
“To me, the mark of a great wide out is not what you do when you catch the ball. It’s what you do when you’re on the back side of a route, and you’re not getting the ball, or on the backside of the run game and you’re making that cutoff or making a great cut block down the field for a touchdown.
“So I think they’re going to see us play with a lot of emotion and a lot of intensity, building off what Coach Ferriter’s already done and what Coach Stitt’s already done with those guys the last two years. To me, that’s what you’re going to see. Very tough, very nasty, very physical.”
With coaching in his blood, Troxel took up the whistle under Griz coach Bobby Hauck in 2008 after three seasons as a Grizzly letterman. He returns to Missoula with fond memories of his time as a Griz.
“It was unbelievable. I’ll never forget – I was hurt – but that UMass playoff game in 2006 under the lights,” he reminisced. “I’ll never forget running out of the tunnel that day and how electric and exciting it was. That was a huge memory for me.”
Troxel and his wife Katie have a daughter named Emerson and a son named Grady.