MISSOULA, Mont. — Bob Stitt is out as Montana’s football coach after three seasons, athletics director Kent Haslam said Monday.

“These decisions are always difficult, and I understand how this impacts many people,” Haslam said. He said Stitt handled the decision with “absolute class.”

“I appreciate Bob’s contributions to the University of Montana and Grizzly Athletics,” Haslam said. “He worked tirelessly to move the football program forward with a focus on overall student-athlete success.”

Haslam said he will move quickly to hire a new coach and sought to make it clear he hadn’t spoken with any potential candidates, despite any rumors to the contrary.

The announcement comes two days after Montana’s second consecutive loss to rival Montana State and after the team missed the playoffs for the second straight year. Stitt’s teams have compiled a 21-14 record in three seasons, including a 7-4 record this season.

“One thing I’ve really appreciated about coach Stitt is the culture that he created. This culture of team unity, of respect, of collaboration,” Haslam said.

Haslam says he wants to see a coach that will help the Grizzlies regain their toughness and swagger back, who expects to win and who will be an ambassador for the university as well as the football team.

“I’m confident we’ll attract a highly qualified coach,” Haslam said.

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