The Big Sky Conference culminated their 50 year celebration on Thursday by naming former Grizzly quarterback Dave Dickenson as the number one male athlete in its history. 

The conference also selected the Grizzly football dynasty as the number one moment in its 50 year history.

UM Sports Information Director Dave Guffey watched personally as Dave Dickenson built a legend as he came out of high school in Great Falls, and eventually led the Grizzlies to their first ever national championship in 1995.

"There have been some great athletes in the 50 year history of the Big Sky Conference, but you have to remember that Dave Dickenson passed for over 11,000 yards and 96 touchdowns, and that was before statistics from the playoffs were included in yearly totals," Guffey said. "And, if you remember the run the Grizzlies had en route to the playoffs, except of course for the Marshall game, they rolled people."

Guffey also called attention to Dickenson's talents as a runner, as well as a passer.

"He was incredibly shifty as a runner, too," Guffey said. "People forget that he ran for 14 touchdowns in his younger days, before the coaches told him to cut that out, and just to keep throwing it."

In addition to naming Dickenson as the conference's number one male athlete, Guffey said the number one moment in conference history involves the Grizzlies.

"The number one moment in the last 50 years came out today, as well," he said. "That is ostensibly the beginning of Montana's dynasty in football over the last 30 years with the dynasty built by the Montana Grizzly football program, which started with the completion of Washington Grizzly Stadium. So, the Grizzlies had the number one male athlete, Dave Dickenson, the number one female athlete with Shannon Cate, and the number one moment with the football dynasty, so having all that is quite a coup for the University of Montana."

photo by Todd Goodrich

The Grizzlies have won two National Championships, in 1995 and again in 2001, 15 conference championships, qualified for the playoffs 20 times, and played in the national championship no fewer than seven times.

The Grizzlies enjoyed 26 consecutive winning seasons from 1986-2011, and have compiled an overall record of 270-91 and a conference record of 168-45 from 1986-2013. UM advanced to the playoffs a record 17 consecutive seasons from 1993-2009, and won or shared 12 straight Big Sky titles from 1998-2009.Montana's 119 victories from 2000-09 led all Division I teams in the decade.

And so, Montana's football juggernaut ranks No. 1 on the Big Sky Conference's list of "50 Greatest Moments."

And, so it's up with Montana boys......

UM Associate Athletic Director for Sports Information Dave Guffey