This year’s inductees include Megan (Schmitz) Graham for basketball, Jennifer (Gordon) Tash for volleyball, Tommy Thomas for football, Bob Beers for Coach and Jarrett Monroe for rodeo. Monroe was originally scheduled to be inducted in 2019, but was unable to attend the ceremony in person and will be presented his award at the 2021 induction. Additionally, the members of the 1961 and 1962 football teams will be inducted during the ceremony.
A special induction ceremony and brunch will be held in honor of the inductees. The brunch is free for ages 5 and below, $7 for ages 6-17 and $15 for adults. If you are interested in purchasing tickets, please contact Kelly Allen in the Montana Western Foundation office at 406-683-7306 or [email protected].
Megan (Schmitz) Graham
Megan Graham graduated from Montana Western with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education in Health and Physical Education and Mathematics in 2007.
As a basketball student-athlete at Montana Western, Megan was 1st Team All Conference in 2006 and 2007, an All-American Honorable Mention in 2006 and was named Frontier All-Academic Team and NAIA Daktronics Scholar Athlete in 2005, 2006, and 2007. During her career at UMW, she is the all time leader in assists and 3-point field goals made, tied for 4th in points scored, 4th for most field goals made, 4th for most free throws made, and a member of the 1,000 point club. She led the team in most three-point field goals during each of her four years.
The team qualified for Nationals all four years making it to the quarterfinals in 2006. Montana Western’s record was 102 wins and 34 losses during her career (44 – 12 in conference play) and they were Conference Tournament Champions twice.
Megan married UMW alumnus Jeff Graham in 2007 and has been teaching for the last fourteen years. She coaches basketball, track and cross country. Megan and Jeff live in Belt, Montana with their four children: Cadence, Ellison, Jace and Jimmer.
Jennifer (Gordon) Tash
Jennifer Tash graduated from Montana Western in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Reading.
Tash played basketball and volleyball while attending Montana Western. She earned an unprecedented three consecutive “Defensive Player of the Year” awards in 1998, 1999, and 2000 for volleyball. During her senior year, she led the league in digs with 3.8 per game, was third in passing at 94.9%, and topped the serving list with a 97.8 percentage. She was voted team captain both her junior and senior year.
The Bulldogs were undefeated in conference play in 1998 and were the Frontier Conference Champions.
Tash taught school in California for four years before moving back to teach in Montana. She married Tyler Tash and they live in Polaris, Montana with their four children: Sage, Callie, Raelynn and Lewis. She is currently employed at Barretts Minerals as the ISO Coordinator.
Bob Beers was head football coach and Athletic Director at Western Montana College (now Montana Western) from 1993-1995.
In two years, Beers had built WMC into an NAIA Division I national championship contender. In his first season, the Bulldogs started 0-4 before finishing with five straight wins and splitting the conference title with Carroll College. In 1994, the team went 8-3 and the Bulldogs won their first ever playoff game.
Beers established the Celebrity Golf Tournament Fundraiser, now known as the Bulldog Scholarship Scramble, for Bulldog Athletics in 1993. Bob was a standout linebacker for the University of Montana earning All-American honors his junior and senior years. He was UM’s first 1st-team All American and was inducted into the Grizzly Sports Hall of Fame.
He has coached at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels, making an impact every step of the way. Beers was recently inducted into the Montana Football Hall of Fame. He and his wife Janelle are retired and back in Montana full-time, enjoying their children and grandchildren and the fishing streams of Southwest Montana.
Tommy Thomas graduated from Montana Western with a Business Communications degree in 1998.
Thomas played wide receiver for the Bulldogs from 1993-97 and currently holds the receiving record at Montana Western. He was Frontier All-Conference three years and NAIA All-American for the 1995-96 season. In 1996, he was leading the nation in receptions per game in NAIA Division I before a scapula injury ended his season. Thomas was named Frontier Conference Offensive Player of the Week and National Player of the Week for the game with Rocky Mountain College in October 1995. Thomas had 10 receptions for 192 yards and one touchdown and did not play the second half as Montana Western had a 33-0 halftime lead. Thomas was also the holder on Kris Heppner’s school record 57-yard field goal. The Bulldogs won three conference titles during Thomas’s career.
Thomas is currently a journeyman electrician. He and his wife, Karen, live in Missoula and have two daughters, Cheyenne and Challis.
Jarret Monroe was a rodeo student-athlete at the University of Montana Western from 2004-2006.
As a rodeo athlete, Jarrett received several honors starting in high school and continued his success into his college career. Jarrett was the High School National Finals Saddle Bronc Champion in 2001 and the High School National Finals All-Around Champion in 2002. While at Montana Western, he was the 2006 Big Sky Region Saddle Bronc Champion. He was also the champion at the Indian National Finals Rodeo events in 2003, 2005, and 2012 in Saddle Bronc.
Jarrett is currently the owner and manager of a custom haying and trucking business. He and his wife, Francine, have four children: Madison, Erin, Ayrianna and JW.
1961 and 1962 Football teams
The Western Montana College Football teams of 1961 and 1962 won two consecutive Montana Collegiate Conference Championships led by head coach George McCormick, in 1961, and newly appointed head coach, Frank Hoey, in 1962.
During the 1961 season, the Bulldogs allowed only 13 points to conference opponents and held 6 of the 8 conference teams to zero points. They finished the regular season 7-0-1.
The 1962 Bulldogs went 5-0 in conference play with the team’s only loss coming from the Weber College Wildcats. They finished the season with a record of 6-1.