Montana Football coach, Bob Stitt speaks to fans in Butte (DAMON TURBITT/MTN Sports)

(Editor’s note: University of Montana media release)

MISSOULA — When the University of Montana welcomes back students for the first day of classes on January 23, head coach Bob Stitt will also welcome back the Griz football squad as preparations for the 2017 season get underway.

The Grizzlies will start the spring season by announcing the incoming class of 2017 on February 1, national signing day. Stitt will introduce his class of signees to the Quarterback Club at 11:30 a.m., followed by a press conference at 1:30 p.m. and the annual signing day social in Kalispell at 5 p.m.

The current class of Grizzlies, plus four incoming transfers, will get down to business the morning of February 7, the team’s first day of winter conditioning.

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Spring practices start on March 13 and will culminate with the annual spring game, set for 1:00 p.m. on April 22 at Naranche Stadium in Butte, marking the first time the Mining City has hosted the event since 2010.

The 2017 spring game, which travels to a different Montana town every other year and serves as a fundraiser for the Grizzly Scholarship Association, is sponsored by Northwestern Mutual.

“Between the Butte GSA chapter, their leadership, and the community, everyone there is really looking forward to hosting the game, and our team, as well as our staff, are looking forward to going over there,” said Grizzly Scholarship Association executive director Greg Sundberg.

“Butte is a huge part of Griz nation and the hospitality and support they provide for our team will be outstanding.”

In addition to hosting the Grizzly spring game on April 22, the Butte GSA chapter will host a social the night before the game, and a tailgate party starting at 11 a.m. the day of the game, which is open to the public.

The Grizzlies’ winter conditioning sessions run every Tuesday and Thursday morning from Feb. 7 to March 9. Spring practices begin March 13 and will conclude on April 21, with a week off in mid-March for spring break.

The Grizzlies will hold two intrasquad scrimmages in the lead up to the spring game on April 7 and 14. Scrimmages are open to the public. Afternoon practices are open to members of the Quarterback Club only.

Montana is looking to build off a 6-5 season that saw the Grizzlies log the program’s 30th winning season in the past 31 years, and finish the year ranked No. 25 in the FCS Coaches’ Poll.

The Griz open the 2017 season at home against Valparaiso on Sept. 2, followed by the reigning Pac-12 champion Washington Huskies in Seattle on Sept. 9.

Griz Football 2017 Spring Practice Schedule – Times TBD:

Monday, March 13 – Practice #1 – Helmets Only
Wednesday, March 15 – Practice #2 – Helmets Only
Monday, March 27 – Practice #3
Wednesday, March 29 – Practice #4
Friday, March 31 – Practice #5
Monday, April 3 – Practice #6
Wednesday, April 5 – Practice #7
Friday, April 7 – Scrimmage #1
Monday, April 10 – Practice #9
Wednesday, April 12 – Practice #10
Friday, April 14 – Scrimmage #2
Monday, April 17 – Practice #12
Wednesday, April 19 – Practice #13
Friday, April 21 – Practice #14 – Helmets Only
Saturday, April 22 – Spring Game – 1 PM – Butte, Montana