A play-by-play look at five years of Griz gridiron success and scandal



University of Montana President Royce Engstrom shocked Griz Nation on the last Friday in March when he fired Athletic Director Jim O'Day and head football coach Robin Pflugrad. Engstrom gave no explanation other than a need to change leadership. The moves came in the wake of a rash of sexual assault allegations involving football players, including starting quarterback Jordan Johnson. But the team's problems go back much further. As the program had a long run of success on the field, issues emerged off it.

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• July 2006: Cornerback Qwenton Freeman throws a beer bottle at Westside Lanes. He would plead guilty to criminal mischief and receive a suspended sentence. Freeman also has two outstanding warrants from Arizona.

• February 2007: Athletic Director Jim O'Day announces the athletic department has eliminated a $1 million deficit two years ahead of schedule. The deficit was attributed in part to accounting errors under the direction of former AD Wayne Hogan, as well as extravagant football travel and high guaranteed payments to visiting football teams. A special committee appointed by the Commissioner of Higher Education found the budget had been "spiraling out of control" since the late 1990s. Retired judge Diane Barz headed the committee.

• June 2, 2007: Cornerback Jimmy Wilson allegedly shoots to death his aunt's boyfriend in California. Qwenton Freeman witnesses the shooting and would refuse to testify. Wilson spends two years in jail before a jury acquits him in July 2009.

• June 23, 2007: Qwenton Freeman allegedly throws another beer bottle, this time at a man outside Stockman's Bar. He's charged with disorderly conduct and kicked off the football team.

• June 27, 2007: Responding to a spate of allegations involving football players, UM President George Dennison defends football coach and "disciplinarian" Bobby Hauck. "I think he's been doing a good job," Dennison says.

• June 30, 2007: Qwenton Freeman allegedly chokes and hits his girlfriend. He's also accused of pulling her hair and throwing her to the ground outside the University Village apartments. He's charged with assault.

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• July 22, 2007: Offensive lineman J.D. Quinn is arrested for drunk driving. Quinn had a previous DUI arrest in 2005, at age 19, while playing for the Oklahoma Sooners. He left Oklahoma in 2006 after it was discovered that he and another player had been paid thousands of dollars for work they had not performed at a Norman, Okla., car dealership.

• Nov. 5, 2007: Qwenton Freeman, running back Greg Coleman, defensive end Mike Shelton and running back Jeramy Pate are among seven masked men who break into a house near campus brandishing guns, looking to steal drugs and money. One victim is pistol-whipped and repeatedly tased, while another is duct taped. Police arrest Coleman, Shelton and Pate. Freeman flees to Oregon. They're all eventually sent to prison.

• November 2007: Montana finishes 11-1 and wins the Big Sky Conference. Its lone loss comes to Wofford in the first round of the FCS playoffs.

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