University of Montana President Royce Engstrom hasn't provided any reasons for the recent firings of head football coach Robin Pflugrad and Athletic Director Jim O?Day. That lack of reasoning is leaving some loyal donors to UM's student athlete scholarship program questioning whether to continue their support.
Joni Walker's been a Griz fan for years. "Back when my husband and I got married, I brought the season tickets into the marriage,? she said.
It wasn't until recently that she was concerned about her contributions to the Grizzly Scholarship Association (GSA), a program that provides over $2 million a year to student athletes.
Walker remembers how she felt when she found out Pflugrad and O'Day had been let go.
?I have to admit that the first notification about all the hoo-hah really set me back,? she said.
Greg Sundberg is the Executive Director of the GSA. He and the rest of his staff work year round to raise the millions of dollars to help pay for things like scholarships and study facilities. But lately the job's been a little tougher.
?There are some folks who are deciding whether or not to continue their support,?
Sundberg knows some donors are after answers as to why Pflugrad and O'Day were fired, answers administrators aren't offering. So now it's up to the GSA staff to urge donors to look at what Sundberg calls the ?bigger picture.?
?If there's ever a time we need their support, it's right now,? he said. ?It's about these young men and women who continue to represent our school and our state.?
He's hoping all loyal supporters like Joni Walker and her husband can realize whey their support is so crucial.
?Ultimately we came to the same conclusion that you know we've been behind Grizzly athletics for way longer than Jim O'Day's been there and way longer than Robin Pflugrad's been there and we're going to continue that,? Walker said.
GSA staff and supporters say this Saturday?s spring scrimmage will be a good reminder of what Grizzly Athletics is all about. Sundberg said it?s about more than football this weekend, it?s about community.
Kickoff for that game is scheduled for 6 p.m. It will be played under the newly installed stadium lights. For more information on the scrimmage click here.