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Montana coach Bob Stitt’s contract not renewed; NAU holds onto Jerome Souers

FILE- In this Nov. 28, 2015 file photo Montana head coach Bob Stitt, left, shakes hands with South Dakota State head coach John Stiegelmeier, right, after a first round game in the NCAA college Football Championship Subdivision playoff, in Missoula, Mont. (Patrick Record / Associated Press)
FILE- In this Nov. 28, 2015 file photo Montana head coach Bob Stitt, left, shakes hands with South Dakota State head coach John Stiegelmeier, right, after a first round game in the NCAA college Football Championship Subdivision playoff, in Missoula, Mont. (Patrick Record / Associated Press)

MISSOULA, Mont. – Bob Stitt is out as Montana’s football coach after three seasons, athletics director Kent Haslam said Monday.

“These decisions are always difficult, and I understand how this impacts many people,” Haslam said. He said Stitt handled the decision with “absolute class.”

“I appreciate Bob’s contributions to the University of Montana and Grizzly Athletics,” Haslam said. “He worked tirelessly to move the football program forward with a focus on overall student-athlete success.”

Haslam said he will move quickly to hire a new coach and sought to make it clear he hadn’t spoken with any potential candidates, despite any rumors to the contrary.

The announcement comes two days after Montana’s second consecutive loss to rival Montana State and after the team missed the playoffs for the second straight year. Stitt’s teams have compiled a 21-14 record in three seasons, including a 7-4 record this season.

“One thing I’ve really appreciated about coach Stitt is the culture that he created. This culture of team unity, of respect, of collaboration,” Haslam said.

Haslam says he wants to see a coach that will help the Grizzlies regain their toughness and swagger back, who expects to win and who will be an ambassador for the university as well as the football team.

“I’m confident we’ll attract a highly qualified coach,” Haslam said.

In the southern region, the Big Sky Conference’s Northern Arizona University announced on Monday that Jerome Souers will continue to serve as head football coach. Souers is in his 20th season with the Lumberjacks.

NAU also announced that defensive coordinator Andy Thompson, who has been with the Lumberjacks for 13 years, has been promoted to associate head coach.


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