Jerry Glanville’s Stories

By Beacon Staff

Jerry Glanville is a fraud.

Now that made you read the next line didn’t it?

He’s not a fraud in the legal sense of describing a criminal, but you often suspect with that twinkle in his eye and that twang of Southern drawl (that’s been modified a bit by living in Hawaii and most recently in Portland) that he’s up to something.

And you know what, he usually is.

While trying to lull any media that would listen last week with stories about how he loved to spend time in the Treasure State and had conjured up a spiritual relationship with a waterfall to give him guidance to beat Montana, he and the Portland State staff were busy changing up their offense enough to give Kraig Paulson’s University of Montana defensive unit fits.

The result: On PSU’s first two series of downs the team scored, and with 3:42 to play in the first quarter were ahead of the shell shocked Grizzlies 14-0.

But as often happens in this crazy game, a dumb PSU penalty resulted in Montana getting a second chance on what would have been a punting situation and on the next play the Grizzlies were in the end zone. And before the Vikings could get to the locker room at halftime they trailed by 11 points, could never recover and were outscored 49-3 after taking the two-TD advantage.

Now, the story about Running Eagle Falls, which was named so by the Blackfeet in honor of the tribe’s only female war chief, was compelling and made great media fodder, but that’s what it was – just a Jerry yarn.

While Pita Omarkan, or Weasel Woman as she was known, was a great warrior and a great hunter who lived around 1825, I could find no reference about how she was adept at disposing specifically of any Ursus Arctos Horribilis. I guess Jerry will have to find another Montana location to have a vision quest next season.

The first time I met the “man in black” at the Big Sky Conference annual media get-together in Park City, Utah, three summers ago, I thought for sure he’d be a big shot.

I mean here he is, after a two-team stint in the NFL and a former NASCAR owner and driver, coaching on the Park Blocks of Portland at a commuter school where most of the student body didn’t know and really didn’t care if there was a football team.

He’d made a media splash in the Rose City by taking the job after his lifelong friend and former PSU quarterback June Jones of run-and-shoot fame had lured him from the University of Hawaii by telling him he cared so deeply about his alma mater that he wanted to rescue the football program from the doldrums of the league’s also-rans.

But in first talking to Glanville, I found the guy – who used to leave Elvis tickets to his games – to be one of the most engaging, sincere and downright friendly and, of course, hilarious football coaches I’ve had the opportunity to talk to in the years I’ve been involved with college athletics.

True, he’s never without a story, and boy can he spin a yarn about a myriad subjects. But take it from me, everything else aside, on the field he’s as competitive a guy as you ever want to encounter and, like the majority in the coaching business, he’ll do anything within the rules to get an edge to try to beat you. That includes trying to hoodwink you into thinking his team doesn’t belong on the field with yours.

But if you saw him on the television or in person on the field after the game, you saw that look of absolute despair and disappointment. Basically he was without words when Bobby Hauck encountered him after the game. And that’s after how many years in this business?

Running Eagle Falls in Glacier National Park didn’t work for Jerry this year and he hasn’t found a way to beat the Griz in three tries. But I wouldn’t bet against him next year in Portland.

And I can hardly wait to hear his next story.

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