My first radio job oh-so-many years ago was at the station where this gentleman was already working. I'm proud to still call him a good friend.

While it's been a long time since he was behind a Griz microphone, many Montana Grizzly fans know the name Bill Schwanke. Bill covered nearly 280 Grizzly football games, along with close to 650 basketball games from 1971 - 1993. A consummate professional who was always super-prepared, Bill shared his passion for UM athletics with the loyal Griz Nation listeners.

Earlier this summer, Bill was contacted by Kevin Marshall, who hosts a national weekly radio show FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) Nation. Kevin spearheaded a drive to name an annual award given to the top FCS broadcaster. And what name did he want to give the award?

The Bill Schwanke Award will be presented annually to a play-by-play radio broadcaster who calls FCS football games. The voting committee will include FOX Sports’ Tim Brando, and a play-by-play broadcaster from each of the FCS conferences. The award will be handed out the week before the FCS national championship game.

Bill's University of Montana roots run deep. His father, Kermit Schwanke, helped launch the Century Club, the Montana Grizzly Athletics booster organization. Bill graduated from UM in 1967 with a degree in journalism and started working as UM’s sports information director that same year. He was also the Missoulian Newspaper's sports editor from 1969 - 1971.

Needless to say, in keeping with the truly humble, sincere man he is, Bill described the honor as surreal and is deeply honored to be chosen.

Well deserved, Grizzly Bill! Proud of you and congratulations. Also thanks and congratulations to Frank Gogola of the Missoulian/406mtsports.com for his outstanding article that broke the story.

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