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- Icons By Maria Maldonado
For the first time in UM history, the Griz men’s tennis team captured a Big Sky Conference championship. The Griz dominated previously unbeaten Weber State University on April 27 in Gold River, Calif. Head coach Kris Nord, in his thirty-second year coaching at UM, says it’s hard to explain the emotions that the win inspired. “It’s like a dream right now. I’m so pumped for these guys,” Nord says. The Griz advanced to the NCAA Tournament, but fell to the University of Oklahoma in the first round. Nord and women’s tennis coach Steve Ascher were named Big Sky Conference coaches of the year.
Jasi Acharya, a former standout Griz golfer, played in the U.S. Women’s Open Championship at the famed Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in North Carolina this past June. Acharya, who won the 2006 Big Sky individual title, was the lone Montanan in the field. She shot rounds of 85 and 75 but missed the cut.
The NBA’s Toronto Raptors signed former Griz guard Will Cherry to a two-year deal in August. Cherry caught scouts’ attention with a strong showing at the NBA Samsung Summer League in Las Vegas, where he played with the Cleveland Cavaliers. As a Griz, Cherry was a three-time All-Big Sky Conference selection, was twice named the league’s defensive player of the year, and finished as the school’s all-time leader in steals with 265.
To give back to the school that gave him his business foundation and befitting someone who worked in construction, Jim Hilleboe of Billings signed a $1.5 million bequest to UM that will be earmarked for facility improvements for Grizzly Athletics. “Most of my roommates while I was a student were football players, and I had friends who were basketball players, so I became a rabid Griz fan, and that hasn’t changed,” Hilleboe says. “I’m solo and have been pretty frugal, I guess, and I don’t live a high lifestyle, so it became my plan to give back to the school I graduated from.” When Hilleboe’s bequest is realized, the funds will be used for the athletics facilities project determined to have the highest priority.