MISSOULA – Montanans have long loved and cheered for Dave Dickenson. He topped our list of the best quarterbacks all-time in the state, and most Griz fans would call him the best player in program history.
Now he is reaching another milestone and celebrating on the UM campus. Dickenson will enter the College Football Hall of Fame this year, and he’s back in Missoula for a weekend to honor the achievement.
Dickenson still holds all of the major passing records at Montana. He led the Grizzlies to their first national title his senior season in 1995 and his No. 15 is one of only two jerseys retired by the school.
But the Great Falls native claims he wasn’t any good at football until his sophomore year of high school. The 5-foot-11 quarterback who constantly out-performed his undersized label now enters the Hall with classmates Calvin Johnson, Ed Reed and Charles Woodson, just to name a few.
“I know I’m not as gifted physically as a lot of the guys,” Dickenson said at a press conference in Missoula on Friday. “I’m not as good of player as them either, but what I think is so cool about the College Hall of Fame is they recognize what sort of impact you make in community, school. Yeah, you’ve got to be a damn good football player. But what else could you do? And I think I did stack up pretty good on those areas. Obviously never thought I’d ever play pro, never thought I could make any Hall of Fame. But yeah, things have worked out.”
Dickenson, who is currently the head coach of the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL, admits he has not attended a Griz game in 13 years. But it worked during a bye week to come back to Montana for this weekend’s game against Sacramento State. The head coach joked that he changed the schedule of work for his assistants to make sure he could get out of town over the weekend.
The Grizzlies will wear throwback copper and gold uniforms to honor the occasion when they kick off Big Sky Conference play versus Sacramento State on Saturday. Those in attendance can expect a loud, long, standing ovation between the first and second quarters when Dickenson takes the field as part of his On-Campus Salute.