Montana State Bobcats
UniversityMontana State University
ConferenceBig Sky Conference (primary)
Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association (men's and women's skiing)
NIRA (rodeo)
NCAADivision I (FCS)
Athletic directorLeon Costello
LocationBozeman, Montana
Varsity teams14
Football stadiumBobcat Stadium
Basketball arenaWorthington Arena at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse
Other venuesShroyer Gym (volleyball) Bridger Bowl (skiing)
ColorsBlue and gold[1]
Big Sky Conference logo in Montana State's colors

The Montana State Bobcats are the varsity athletic teams representing Montana State University in Bozeman in intercollegiate athletics. The university sponsors thirteen teams including men and women's basketball, cross country, skiing, tennis, and track and field; women's-only golf and volleyball; and men's-only football. The Bobcats compete in NCAA Division I and are members of the Big Sky Conference[2] with the exception of the men's and women's skiing teams which belong to the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association.[3] Their main rivals are the Grizzlies of the University of Montana in Missoula. Both schools are charter members of the Big Sky Conference, which began competition 61 years ago in the fall of 1963.


Individual teams

Men's Women's Co-ed
Basketball Basketball
Cross Country Cross Country
Football Golf
Skiing Skiing
Tennis Tennis
Track & Field Track & Field
Volleyball Spirit Squad


Main article: Montana State Bobcats men's basketball

Main article: Montana State Bobcats women's basketball

Montana State Bobcats basketball history includes one of college basketball's legendary teams, the Golden Bobcats of the late 1920s. The school's basketball teams had acclaimed fame throughout the 1920s by playing "racehorse basketball" and becoming one of the first schools in the nation to employ what is known as the fast break. Montana State College coach Ott Romney, who graduated with a Masters from MSC prior to World War I,[4] pioneered the style of play, and by 1926 had assembled a team perfectly suited to playing an up-tempo brand of ball. Cat Thompson, John "Brick" Breeden, Frank Ward, Val Glynn and Max Worthington were at the heart of the MSC team that won the Rocky Mountain Conference title three straight seasons, and bested Utah State, BYU, Colorado, and University of Denver. The 1928–29 team reached college basketball's zenith by defeating the AAU Champion Cook's Painters in a two-of-three series and steamrolling to the Rocky Mountain Conference title. The Bobcats were retroactively recognized as the pre-NCAA Tournament national champion for the 1928–29 season by the Premo-Porretta Power Poll and the Helms Athletic Foundation.[5] The Helms Foundation also named Cat Thompson one of the five greatest players in the first half of the 20th century in college hoops.


Main article: Montana State Bobcats football

In 1956 the Bobcats football team took a share of the NAIA championship in the Aluminum Bowl in Little Rock, Arkansas playing to a 0–0 tie on a muddy field with the Pumas of St. Joseph’s College from Rensselaer, Indiana. In 1976 the Bobcats of Montana State won a national football title in NCAA Division II at Wichita Falls, Texas beating the Zips of Akron, Ohio 24-13 in the title game. In 1984, the Bobcats returned to a national football title game played in Charleston, South Carolina, beating the Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech 19-6 for their third national football title. The MSU Bobcats football is the only college team with national titles in three different classifications. The team has won 19 conference titles and has made the NCAA FCS playoffs 9 times.


Montana State Bobcats rodeo team has a long proud history with the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. For almost 30 years MSU hosted the College National Finals Rodeo. Bobcat Rodeo teams have won 8 national team titles, 32 individual national championships and multiple Big Sky Regional crowns. The Bobcats Rodeo team operates under the MSU Department of Student Affairs and enjoys outstanding booster support form the C.A.T. Rodeo Scholarship Association.


Montana State Bobcats Alpine and Nordic Ski team compete in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association and the NCAA Western Region and has produced 13 national champions. The Bobcat Nordic and alpine ski program venues at Bridger Bowl and Bohart Ranch have hosted six NCAA National Championships.[6] The Big Sky Conference dropped its sponsorship of skiing and four other sports after the 1974 season.[7][8][9]

Spirit Squad

The Montana State Spirit Squad is broken down into the Cheer team and Dance team.

Former sports


Montana State dropped its baseball program 53 years ago, following the 1971 season,[10][11] and rival Montana played just one additional year.[12] The Big Sky dropped baseball after the 1974 season, along with four other sports.[7][8][13]


The Bobcat wrestling program won the first three Big Sky titles (1964, 1965, 1966);[14] the conference discontinued the sport 37 years ago, after the 1987 season.[15]


  1. ^ "MSU Brand Guide". Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  2. ^ "Member Institutions".
  3. ^ "Home".
  4. ^ "G. Ott Romney Staff Bio | Athletic Director". Brigham Young University. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  5. ^ ESPN, ed. (2009). ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia: The Complete History of the Men's Game. New York, NY: ESPN Books. pp. 532–34. ISBN 978-0-345-51392-2.
  6. ^ "Bobcat Skiing A Commitment to Excellence" (PDF). Montana State University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Big Sky drops fives". Ellensburg Daily record. UPI. May 15, 1974. p. 11.
  8. ^ a b "Idaho off probation, loop titles dwindle". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Lewiston, Idaho. May 15, 1974. p. 13.
  9. ^ "Past Skiing Champions". Big Sky Conference. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  10. ^ "Zags clinch 'ND' crown". Spokesman-Review. May 10, 1971. p. 12.
  11. ^ "Decision likely". Spokane Daily Chronicle. May 1, 1972. p. 20.
  12. ^ "Zags need win". Spokane Daily Chronicle. May 7, 1973. p. 22.
  13. ^ "Past Baseball Champions". Big Sky Conference. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  14. ^ "Idaho State wins first mat crown". Spokesman-Review. February 27, 1967. p. 8.
  15. ^ "Past Wrestling Champions". Big Sky Conference. Retrieved September 9, 2014.