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Red Lodge's John Fitzgerald, a 2001 Griz national champ, planned last-minute trip to Frisco

Posted at 3:36 PM, Jan 06, 2024

RED LODGE — Sometimes patience pays off.

Red Lodge football coach John Fitzgerald finally decided about two weeks ago that he’d be making the trip to Frisco, Texas, for the FCS national championship game — a move that wound up saving him quite a bit of money.

“Initially when I was first looking around the state, roundtrip airfare was about 800, 900 bucks, and Denver is a fraction of that," Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald left Red Lodge early Saturday morning to catch an afternoon flight out of Denver. He’ll turn back around Monday and come home, but he’s going to try and pack a few events into his trip.

“We might try to get to Griz Fest when we get down there (Saturday). Sunday, before the game we'll tailgate, watch the game and hang out there," Fitzgerald said. "Hopefully the Griz are victorious. I want to see a great game out of them. Just watch the game, then head back. I'm a huge (Miami) Dolphins fan, so watch the Sunday Night Football game in Frisco after the Griz game and hopefully have two good games on Sunday."

Fitzgerald was the fullback on Montana’s 2001 championship team, paving the way for stud tailback Yohancey Humphrey. He’s a man that bleeds the maroon, and he’s expecting quite a turnout down in Texas.

“When we played back in the day, our crowds on the road were bigger than most of the home crowds from those other schools," Fitzgerald said. "There's a reason we call it Griz Nation. Griz Nation is powerful and they're passionate about the University of Montana. I have no doubt they'll fill that stadium on Sunday."

Fitzgerald looks forward to watching this year’s Grizzlies fight for a national title against reigning champion South Dakota State, while also reuniting with some old friends from Montana’s last championship team.