BILLINGS – Chris Stutzriem recognizes a good thing when he sees it.
“I’d be pretty dumb if I changed a lot after winning a conference championship, honestly,” Stutzriem said Wednesday at his first media conference as head football coach at Rocky Mountain College. “So, right now, offensively they did a lot of the same things we did — terminology-wise, formation-wise. I’ve been here for every recruiting class with Jason (Petrino), so I don’t see a lot changing.”
Stutzriem, Rocky’s 18th head football coach, spent last year at Southwestern Oklahoma State learning day-to-day operations and to be himself under Chet Pobolish. He both played and worked for Joe Glenn early on, and certainly remembers the first guy to take a chance on him.
“Todd Hafner who gave me my first and only (graduate assistant) opportunity,” recalled Stutzriem. “Out of college I applied for 67 jobs and he was the only one to call me back, and …”
And here he is with his first head coaching job, which didn’t take long for the Battlin’ Bears to decide.
“It went fast,” said Rocky athletic director Jeff Malby before introducing Stutzriem. “We interviewed three people, of which Chris emerged from those three. Those other two will remain anonymous.”
“You know,” Stutzriem said, “my timeline was: accepted the job, was honored to get offered the job on Thursday, right away. I don’t even think he could finish offering it to me before I said yes.”
The new head coach comes from a military family and is the youngest of three brothers. He says that made him grow up tough and that it’s paid off.
Although he wasn’t actually with the Bears last fall, Stutzriem had enough stake in the team to literally watch their magical season from afar.
“Yeah, yeah, I watched online,” he said. “I was a fan this year. I knew all the kids. It was good to see the success that they had and all the hard work had paid off.”
When you look at it on paper, Stutzriem has a last name that might be tricky to pronounce, and he admits he’s heard about everything imaginable.
“I like to think, Stud Stream, you know,” he laughed. “To have the stud in there a little bit was good. It depended on, as a player, if I was playing well or not. But I’ve heard everything, I don’t own a stream. There’s no stream in it. The best is when people don’t know you and they try to pronounce it, and that sounds really fun. And then it’s just, Chrissss. Yep, that’s me!”