Rebranding the University of Montana

An Illinois kid named Doug Betters made his way, serendipitously, to the University of Montana for the first time more than 40 years ago as a highly touted football defensive lineman. Since then, Betters has ridden life’s roller coaster with grace, from the heights of sports stardom, including the 1983 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, to the depths of a paralyzing ski accident. Through it all, every rise and every fall, every loop and every turn, even the twist that took him to the University of Nevada-Reno for his senior year of college, Betters has been one thing, always: a Griz, through and through.

When his football career ended, he made Whitefish home, and when fall hits the Flathead Valley each year, Betters, like the rest of us, watches the smoke from simmering wildfires settle in around him and throw an ominous blanket over the otherwise-pristine landscape.