UMW News BureauThe University of Montana Western football team began the 2011 season on Friday, Aug. 12. By Lowell Peterson The University of Montana Western football team began the 2011 season on Friday, Aug. 12. The first day consisted of team meetings, equipment checkouts and other miscellaneous season-opening preparations. Day one concluded with a barbecue for the players and parents. Montana Western is coming off a 1-10 season and is eager to be a competitive team in the Frontier Conference and improve on last year’s record. In addition to many new incoming players the Bulldogs have a new head coach and several new assistant coaches. Ryan Nourse begins his first year at Montana Western and his first year as a college head coach. Nourse returns to Montana Western — where he had a very successful career as a player for the Bulldogs — from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. Nourse was at Morningside for eight years serving as an assistant in various capacities from 2001 to 2007 and again in 2010. He spent two years as an assistant at Truman State University before returning to Morningside for the 2010 season. While at Morningside, Nourse was named the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) 2007 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Assistant Coach of the Year. The AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year award was first presented in 1997 and was created to honor assistant coaches who excel in community service, commitment to the student athlete, on-field coaching success, and AFCA professional organization involvement. Nourse will be assisted this year by Jason Thier, Zach Parks, Wes Warren, Rob Goode, Jeff Hansen and Sean McKinney. The Bulldogs begin their twice-per-day practices on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 8:45 a.m., and will practice again in the afternoon at 3:45 p.m. Practices are open to parents and fans. There may be only one practice on some Sundays. Montana Western will have two scrimmage games this fall. The first game will be on Saturday, Aug. 20 at 3 p.m. at Vigilante Stadium in Dillon. The second game will be on Saturday, Aug. 27 at 1 p.m. also at Vigilante Stadium. The Bulldogs will open their regular season on Sept. 3 in Havre, Mont. against Montana State University-Northern.