Take that interim tag off of Grizzly football coach Mick Delaney’s official title at The University of Montana.
The veteran coach, named the interim head football coach at UM in late March, has signed a two-year contract, which expires on Jan. 31, 2014. The contract was announced July 26 by Jean Gee, UM’s interim athletic director, in a press conference that was held in the Canyon Club at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
Delaney has coached 46 seasons – 30 of those at the collegiate level.
He replaced Robin Pflugrad, whose contract was not renewed after serving as UM’s head coach in 2010 and 2011. Delaney recently completed his fourth season as an assistant coach at Montana, working with the running backs. He was also an associate head coach.
“When I think of the qualities that are needed in a head coach, I think of, among other things, expertise, mentor, leader,” Gee said, “but above all else I think of integrity. When I contemplated those qualities, there really was no question that the right thing to do for this team and all of Griz Nation was to remove the interim title and offer Mick Delaney a two-year contract.
“Mick brings stability to the program and leadership that will result in success for our student-athletes both on and off the field,” Gee said. “I am confident that our football program is in good hands with Mick and his talented coaching staff and look forward to them guiding it to even greater achievements.”
“This is a time to look toward a strong and vibrant future for Grizzly Athletics,” UM President Royce Engstrom said. “In Mick Delaney, we have chosen a head coach who will lead us into that future. He is highly motivated himself, but he is also an exceptional motivator of others, including the players, coaches and staff around him. He understands the important role that Grizzly football plays at The University of Montana, and he has quickly earned our trust and respect.
“Coach Delaney will strengthen even further the grand tradition of Grizzly football, and he will work tirelessly to provide a supportive and competitive environment for our student-athletes,” Engstrom said. “Under his leadership, fans should look forward to a strong and exciting season. We will do all we can to support Coach Delaney and the team. I know that Griz fans will as well.”
Originally from Butte, Delaney came to Montana from Colorado State where he was an assistant coach for former head coach Sonny Lubick for 15 seasons from 1993 to 2007. Former Griz head coach Bobby Hauck hired Delaney in 2008, while Pflugrad retained him as the lone official holdover from Hauck’s staff.
Before his stint at CSU, Delaney was the head football coach and athletic director at his alma mater, The University of Montana Western in Dillon, in 1991 and ’92. He coached on Lubick’s staff at Montana State University from 1979 to ’80. He served as the athletic director at Montana Tech in Butte from 1983 to ’85. He was an assistant football coach under former UM head coach Jack Swarthout from 1968 to ’69. He began his coaching career in his hometown at Butte Central High School (1964-67) as head wrestling and assistant football coach.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in education at Montana Western in 1964, and he is an inaugural inductee into the UMW College Sports Hall of Fame.
Mick and his wife, Cheri, have three children – Mike Delaney, Shauna Basile and Melissa Ossello – and nine grandchildren.
Coach Delaney Coaching Timeline
2012-present: The University of Montana, Head Coach
2008-11: The University of Montana, Associate Head Coach & Running Backs
1993-2007: Colorado State University, Running Backs
1991-92: The University of Montana Western, Head Coach/Athletic Director
1983-85: Montana Tech, Director of Athletics
1976-80: Montana State University, Assistant Football Coach
1968-69: The University of Montana, Head Wrestling Coach & Assistant Football Coach