Montana Tech Football: Triumphs, Traditions, and Tomorrow 

montana tech football

Montana Tech Football

Triumphs, Traditions, and Tomorrow:


Montana Tech football has become an integral part of the college sports scene in Montana. The football team represents the Montana Tech campus located in Butte, often referred to as the “Mining City”. They compete in the Frontier Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Over the years, Montana Tech football has built a reputation for being a scrappy and competitive program despite not having the resources of larger schools. They are known for having a devoted fanbase that passionately supports the Orediggers, as the team is nicknamed.

On this website, coverage of Montana Tech football is integrated throughout:

  • The Left Main Content Rail features news, analysis, and commentary related to the team’s latest games and developments.
  • The Top Stories section highlights major wins, player achievements, and program milestones.
  • The Right Main Content Rail shares insider perspective and commentary from coaches and players.

History of Montana Tech Football

Football has been played at Montana Tech for over a century, with the roots of the program tracing back to the early 1900s. Known then as the Montana State School of Mines, the college fielded various informal teams before establishing an official varsity program in 1920.

In those early years, the team, nicknamed the “Miners”, played local clubs and town teams, before joining the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 1935. This allowed them to compete against other small colleges and universities in the region.

Some key milestones in Montana Tech football history include:

  • 1958: Completed their first undefeated season under coach Gene Downey.
  • 1965: The “Miners” nickname was changed to the “Orediggers”.
  • Mid-1960s: Success under coach Bob Riley with back-to-back conference titles.
  • Early 2000s: Championship seasons under coach Bob Green.

Coverage of the various eras in Montana Tech football history are incorporated into the website’s Top Stories section through articles, interviews, archived photographs, and more for visitors to explore.

The Montana Tech Football Team

The 2023 Montana Tech Orediggers football team is comprised of nearly 50 players representing multiple states. Led by head coach Kyle Samson, the coaching staff includes offensive coordinator Rob Schulte, defensive coordinator BJ Robertson, and assistants Jeff Norrell, Kelly Devlin, and Reggie Ford.

Several key players to watch on this year’s Montana Tech roster include:

  • Parker Johnston (QB): Two-year starter at quarterback responsible leading the offense. 
  • Mark Estes (RB): Leading rusher for the Orediggers. Gained 950 yards on the ground as a sophomore last year.
  • Kaleb Winterburn (S): Senior safety who has been an anchor for the defense the past three seasons.
  • Jake Standlee (LB): Linebacker coming off a 100+ tackle season in 2022. Named a preseason All-American.

The Orediggers are known for having a close-knit and spirited team environment. Players and coaches frequently highlight the family-like team culture. Fans also praise the work ethic and “lunch pail” mentality of Tech football teams.

Updated team news and insider perspective pieces can be found in the Right Main Content Rail of the website during the season.

Montana Tech Football: The Game Experience

Attending a Montana Tech football game promises an intimate and spirited atmosphere focused on Orediggers football. Home games are played at Alumni Stadium on the Tech campus in Butte.

The 2,500-seat stadium maintains an energetic environment thanks to the dedicated Oredigger fans that regularly pack the venue. The crowd is known for the passion and intensity they bring for their team. Chants, cheers, rally signs, and more energize the stadium.

Popular game day traditions fans look forward to include:

  • Tailgating parties filling the parking lots with food, drinks, cornhole, and ladder ball.
  • The team marching band performing the fight song after touchdowns.
  • Students and young fans chasing errant kickoffs that sail over the stands.

Upcoming Montana Tech football games for the 2023 season are highlighted in the website’s Calendar Tabs on the homepage with direct links to ticketing options. This allows fans to easily check schedules and plan their visits.

Facilities and Stadium

Montana Tech football is home to one of the premier small college facilities in the Frontier Conference. The crown jewel is Alumni Stadium which opened in 1967 and underwent a major renovation between 2008-2010.

With a capacity of 2,500, Alumni Stadium maintains an intimate setting while still offering modern amenities. Some features include:

  • Artificial FieldTurf surface installed in 2013.
  • New press box, VIP seating, concession stands, and restrooms.
  • Updated locker rooms, training room, team room, and weight facilities.

The upgrades ensure players have access to quality equipment and facilities comparable to larger universities. Fans also enjoy covered grandstand seating and an updated sound system enhancing the game day atmosphere.

Behind-the-scenes photos and videos highlighting the recent stadium renovations and world-class training facilities utilized by Oredigger players are incorporated into the website’s YouTube Videos section. This visual content gives site visitors an insider’s view.

Montana Tech Football in the Community

The Montana Tech football program strives to be actively engaged within the Butte community beyond just on-field performance. Players, coaches, and staff participate in various community events, outreach initiatives, and fundraisers throughout the year.

Some examples of Oredigger community involvement include:

  • Youth football camps held annually to help develop local Pop Warner and middle school players.
  • Volunteering at the Butte Rescue Mission helping serve meals around the holidays.
  • Visiting local elementary schools to read to students and emphasize the importance of reading.
  • Annual fundraiser walk/run event with proceeds going to the Butte YMCA/YWCA.

Giving back and getting involved beyond the field is an integral part of the Montana Tech football culture. The community engagement helps build connections with fans and residents while positively impacting the Butte area. Stories highlighting the program’s community relations efforts are regularly showcased.

Achievements and Titles

Despite its small size, Montana Tech football has an accomplished history including conference championships and national recognition. This success further demonstrates the winning pedigree of Oredigger football.

Some of the most celebrated achievements include:

  • 5 Frontier Conference Championship Titles
  • 2x Frontier Conference Coach of the Year (Bob Green)
  • 10+ Consensus All-American selections
  • Numerous individual national player and coordinator awards

Montana Tech often outpaces larger rivals, an impressive feat that garners attention and respect from across college football. Players and alumni who helped lead the way in securing titles and honors for Oredigger football are highlighted prominently with features in the website’s Top Stories section.

Notable Games and Moments

In over a century of Montana Tech football, there have been countless thrilling games and plays that have added to the program’s renowned legacy. Re-living these memorable moments allows fans to relish in the history of Oredigger football.

A few of the iconic games and moments that longtime fans still reminisce about include:

  • 1957: Last-second Hail Mary pass from QB Fred Mirich to Bob McGihon to beat Western Montana 21-20.
  • 1967: Three-overtime 53-52 win over Rocky Mountain on a two-point conversion in Frontier title game.
  • 1976: Ervin Graves set single-game rushing record with 303 yards vs Simon Fraser including an electrifying 91-yard TD run.
  • 2010: 36-33 comeback over Carroll College erasing 27-3 halftime deficit to secure playoff berth.

These are just a sampling of the many legendary performances, players, and games that have defined Montana Tech football through the decades. Reliving these memories through archived photographs, radio clips, box scores, and recaps in the Calendar Tabs helps fans reconnect with Oredigger lore.

Challenges Faced by Montana Tech Football

While there have been many triumphant seasons, Montana Tech football has also endured its share of adversity and challenges over the decades. Even the most successful programs navigate periods of struggle.

Some difficult eras Oredigger football has worked to overcome include:

  • 1990s: Four consecutive losing seasons with only 8 total wins.
  • 1980s-90s: Difficulty recruiting and retaining players to stay all 4 years.
  • 1960s-70s: Lack of financial resources compared to conference foes.

Through these rough patches, Montana Tech football displayed resolve and a commitment to the values that the program stands for. By emphasizing concepts like responsibility, work ethic, accountability, and perseverance, the Orediggers used challenging periods as opportunities for growth.

Learning how the players and coaches overcame obstacles and evolved through the years offers valuable perspective into the fabric of Montana Tech football that extends far beyond just wins and losses.

Future Outlook for Montana Tech Football

The future appears bright for Montana Tech football as the program looks ahead to building on current momentum. After recent winning seasons and a conference title, the Orediggers are well-positioned for continued success.

Much of the optimism surrounding the future is rooted in an influx of young talent choosing Montana Tech. Strategic local and regional recruiting has bolstered the roster with high-potential players. Many recruits cite the family atmosphere and opportunity to play right away as major factors.

Additional areas of focus for the future include:

  • Continuing to upgrade training facilities and equipment.
  • Enhancing skill development coaching and conditioning.
  • Scheduling creatively to test Orediggers against top NAIA competition.

The chief goals moving ahead will be chasing the elusive national championship while maintaining the standard of excellence – on and off the field – synonymous with Oredigger football.

Montana Tech Football Alumni

A source of great pride for the Montana Tech football program is watching Oredigger alumni succeed at the next level professionally and beyond. Numerous players have gone on to make an impact in the NFL, CFL, and in their communities after their college careers.

A few of the more prominent Montana Tech football alums include:

  • Salah Hill (DB): Holds multiple school records and played professionally in the 1980s.
  • Blake Thelen (QB): Set NAIA records and played in the CFL from 2019-2022.
  • Kyle Torgerson (OL): All-American offensive tackle drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1997.
  • Justus Peterson (DL): Signed as undrafted free agent with Green Bay Packers in 2018.

Other Oredigger standouts like quarterback Levi Torgerson, tight end Tel Arthur, offensive lineman Jaden MacNeil and countless others also enjoyed stints professionally in arena leagues, NFL Europe, and in Canada. Their continued Montana Tech football legacy makes the program stronger.

How to Support Montana Tech Football

Montana Tech football thrives thanks to dedicated fans and supporters. Oredigger Nation is passionate about backing both the players and the greater team culture. There are numerous ways for fans to get involved with Montana Tech football and help the program.

Attending games is the most direct avenue to cheer on the team. Tickets can be purchased through links provided in the website’s Calendar Tabs. For fans not in the Butte area, live video streams are offered for most home and away games.

Other ways fans can show support include:

  • Buying the latest Montana Tech football gear and merchandise. Items are sold through the team store on campus and online.
  • Making small donations to the Orediggers Athletics Booster Club supporting equipment upgrades and program necessities.
  • Getting involved as a volunteer working home games or assisting with community events.

The passionate fan support continues fueling the hard-working attitude synonymous with Montana Tech football.


Exploring the rich history and various components of Montana Tech football reveals a program making its mark for over a century through determination and spirit. Generations of players, students, alumni, and Butte residents have supported Oredigger football forming a unique bond.

From the origins playing local mining teams to recent championship seasons, Montana Tech football continues evolving, facing challenges, and celebrating achievements both on and off the field. The future aims to build on the standard of excellence and strong community ties that the program has cultivated.

We invite visitors to further immerse themselves by engaging with all the Montana Tech football content on the website like:

  • Re-living classic games and plays in the Calendar Tabs archives.
  • Watching behind-the-scenes videos of facilities and gear in our YouTube Videos page.
  • Consuming the latest Oredigger storylines and insider news along the website’s content rails.

Montana Tech football is rich in history and tradition just waiting to be uncovered. We’re thrilled to help fans explore it all!

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