Three Griz Football Players Arrested

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA (AP) – Three University of Montana football players were being held Sunday on charges related to a house break-in last week near the school.

Running back Greg Coleman and defensive backs Mike Shelton and Jeremy Pate were arrested after arriving back in Montana following the road game Saturday against Idaho State.

They were among five people being held Sunday on $200,000 bond in connection with the break-in, said Missoula County sheriff’s Cpl. James Riekena.

All were held on charges of felony robbery and burglary, Riekena said. They individually faced various other charges including kidnapping and assault.

The arrests were first reported by KGVO-AM.

The players were due to be arraigned Tuesday, although Riekena said it was possible they also could appear in court Monday.

Also arrested in the case were Levi Woods, 20, of Missoula, and Mark Whetstone, 28, of Honolulu, Riekena said.

“This is an embarrassing situation for our football team, UM Athletics and the University of Montana,” athletic director Jim O’Day said in a written statement Sunday.

The program has gone through turmoil in the past year.

In June, cornerback Jimmy Wilson turned himself in to California authorities investigating the shooting death of his aunt’s 29-year-old boyfriend. Wilson has pleaded not guilty to murder.

Later that month, teammate Qwenton Freeman, whom California authorities suspected had witnessed the shooting, was arrested over accusations that he threw a beer bottle at a man outside a bar.

In September, cornerback Timothy L. Parks was arrested on accusations he pointed a gun at a woman’s head and slapped her, apparently while trying to collect a debt.

“Instead of enjoying our recent successes, we’re spending too much time working on situations that are embarrassing to the department,” O’Day said after the latest arrests. “This is not what we’re all about, and it’s very frustrating and selfish.

“I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I am at this time. I’m sick.”

Coach Bobby Hauck called it an embarrassment. “We do everything we can to try to educate our players and avoid something like this. It just sickens me that this will reflect negatively on the other 100 great, hard-working kids we have on our football team,” he said in a written statement.

“This is a shock to our program and to the players on the team,” senior Muckie Foreman said. “We need to move on from here. We have a big game to prepare for this week, and this is a distraction that we don’t need right now.”