Griz Nation Shocker – Griz Voice Mick Holien’s Contract Not Renewed With Learfield Sports [YouTube]
This will be the final football and men's basketball seasons for the long-time 'Voice of the Griz' Mick Holien.
Mick appeared on the KGVO Talk Back show on Thursday to talk about the reaction around Griz Nation to the news that Learfield Sports had chosen not to renew his contract following the end of the men's basketball season. Peter Christian said 'you could have knocked me over with a feather when I heard the news'.
"Well, Peter, the feather must be widespread because it smacked me in the forehead, it must be the same feather," Holien said. "I was pretty shocked and dismayed. Eventually, you know that there would be an end in sight, but you're always kind of surprised when that time occurs."
Holien said it took some time to accept Learfield's decision.
"I went through all the stages of grief just like you would for any painful event, but it's been a great run, and it's not over," he said. "I mean, how often does a guy get a four or five month notice of termination? I'm going to make the most of my time remaining."
That will be the remainder of the Grizzly football season, and the entire men's basketball season, which, with luck, will continue well into March Madness.
Holien said his philosophy of doing play-by-ply was inspired by a friend who depended completely on his vocal descriptions of the games.
"I always like to say that I do a game in the eyes of a blind man, because R. 'Bud" Gould, a legislator from Missoula for years was blind, and befriended me very early on and said 'Look, I don't want to just hear the game. I want you to be my eyes. I want to smell it, I want t feel everything about the game, so I try to do each game in his memory and for him to be able to see."
Holien said he's already heard from several close friends who have expressed their shock over the decision, including former coaches like Bobby Hauck and Wayne Tinkle.
Mick will be in the broadcast booth along with Greg Sundberg this Saturday to broadcast the game against the University of North Dakota. He has been involved with Grizzly sports for over 31 years.
Following is the official press release from Learfield Sports:
MISSOULA, Mont. (Oct. 22, 2015) – Following significant discussions, Learfield Sports formally announces that is has parted ways with long-time “Voice of the Griz” Mick Holien, marking the 2015-16 Grizzly basketball season as his last.
“I consider myself highly privileged to have been able to paint the picture of Griz football, basketball and Lady Griz basketball for this extended period,” said Holien. “Few people have such an opportunity to be associated with such a quality institution, where winning is coupled with the development of young minds.”
He added, “It has been some kind of journey and I couldn't be more proud of the program we have produced over the years, the people who all have been a part of it and the support Griz Nation has been so kind to give us.”
Learfield Sports will spearhead a national search for Holien’s replacement in the coming months. Learfield, the exclusive multimedia rightsholder for the Grizzlies, aligns daily with UM Athletics’ through its local Grizzly Sports Properties team, which also oversees all aspects of the Montana Grizzly Sports Network.
"Mick Holien no doubt has been an iconic broadcasting legend for the Griz, and we recognize and appreciate his dedication to this profession and calling many memorable football and basketball moments for Montana the last three decades. We have nothing but deep respect for Mick and will rally around this finale season,” said Nick Garner, general manager for Grizzly Sports Properties.
“After much deliberation and open conversations with Athletics, we felt it was in the best interest of Mick and Griz fans alike to give him ample notice well in advance of the season concluding in order to make the 2015-16 season a tribute to his many great years serving this university and its fan base,” said Tom Boman, Learfield’s vice president, broadcast operations. “Yes, he will always be considered a memorable broadcaster for Griz fans, but without a doubt we feel certain they will embrace the new Voice much like they have Mick, and Bill before him.”
Learfield has been a trusted partner in collegiate athletics for more than 40 years. Montana is just one of the many university partners the company represents nationwide.