BOZEMAN — Montana State’s new defensive line coach Shawn Howe is no stranger to Montana.
From wrapping up his playing days to embarking on a coaching career at Rocky Mountain College, life has a way of coming full circle.
“I’ve taken jobs all over the country, and to have all my buddies from college hit me up and them to say welcome back to Montana, can’t wait to see you, can’t wait to see you be a part of something that’s so important to us, it’s been surreal," Howe said.
Howe transferred to Rocky in the early 2000s where he was a two-year starter at defensive end.
Upon completing his playing career, he traded in his football helmet for a spot on the sidelines, serving as the outside linebackers coach for the following two seasons.
Sixteen years later, he’s back in the Treasure State.
“This place, this school, this university, this town has exceeded all my expectations, so it’s been a real easy transition," Howe said.
During Howe’s young coaching career, he grew a mentor in Scottie Hazelton, who has past coaching experience with Bobcats head coach Brent Vigen at both Wyoming and North Dakota State.
“I went up to visit him on a couple of occasions and got a chance to see how they approach and kind of what they do," Howe explained. "That time I spent there at Wyoming was kind of one of the main reasons I wanted to take this job. I liked the approach they take, and I know Coach (Vigen) when we talked, he said that’s kind of the approach we’re going to take at Montana State, and that actually intrigued me.”
One other aspect of the job that also intrigued Howe was finally being able to be a part of Cat-Griz.
“This place when it comes to Cat-Griz reminds you of the SEC," Howe added. "You are on one side of the fence or you are on the other. When I first got to Montana I was like, 'What the heck is Cat-Griz?' So it was really cool growing up here in college and hearing about and seeing the importance, and now getting a chance to be a part of it, it’s unbelievable.”
Montana State will cap off spring football with the Sony Holland Classic on April 24 at 1 p.m.