BOZEMAN, Mont. - An historic day in MSU football history, as Rob Ash becomes the winningest coach of all time, surpassing Bobcat legend Sonny Holland. Saturday's 65 to 30 victory over Portland State was just one of many examples of the impact Coach Ash has had on this program.
"I've been around here forever and I tell you what, we got leadership in our program now that is second to none. He's a first-class individual, he's more than a football coach, I'll tell you that. He's a mentor, he's a father figure, he's a great teacher and the kids all love him," Holland said after the game.
"It's been an honor to be recruited by Coach Ash and he's just done so much for this program and it's a privilege to be at the program at this time, you know, we're a good squad and he's just done a tremendous job," said running back Cody Kirk, who racked up 122 yards rushing and two touchdowns in Saturday's game.
Holland presented Coach Ash with a game ball commemorating his 48th victory as Bobcats head coach, and it was clearly a special moment for both men.
"That was a special moment, that's a moment I'll remember forever and it's one of the best moments of my life as a coach, as a person, just because of how much Coach Holland means to this program and means to me personally," Ash said during the post-game press conference.
In just five years as the head of the program, Ash has transformed the Bobcats into a national powerhouse, consistently ranked in the top ten in the nation.
"You look at statistics and I mean he's a pretty impressive coach and just where this program has been the last five years and just kind of how it's kept getting better and better and better," defensive end Caleb Schreibeis said, fresh off his last regular season home game as one of 17 seniors on the squad.
Coach Ash says the numbers and the record books don't matter to him, it's the young men he coaches that makes the job worthwhile.
"I told the team in the locker room I didn't win any games, you guys played them, you won them, and that's really how I feel. I love to see their smiles on their faces when we win, that's what I work for," Ash said.
Ash was carried off the field Saturday night, the winningest coach the program has ever seen, and Holland says ash may make an even bigger mark soon.
"I see a national championship on the horizon and maybe sooner then we all think. But he's that kind of a person that's got that kind of a program and everybody is open and doing everything they can to support the program," said the legendary former coach.
Game notes: MSU headed into halftime with a 59-10 lead, allowing just 18 passing yards in the first half...The Bobcats caused six fumbles during the game, recovering two...Portland State used three quarterbacks during the game, benching starter Kieran McDonagh early in the second quarter after his interception was returned for a touchdown by Bobcat safety Steven Bethley...The Bobcats are now just a half game out of first place in the Big Sky Conference heading into their final game of the regular season against the Montana Grizzlies