Koss, Klever, Miller latest Grizzly Sports Hall inductees - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Koss, Klever, Miller latest Grizzly Sports Hall inductees

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Three former standout athletes at the University of Montana have been selected as the newest members of the Grizzly Sports Hall of Fame (GSHF).

Former football players Rocky Klever and Larry Miller will join Lady Griz hoopster Greta (Koss) Buehler at the banquet, Friday, Oct., 7, at a location yet to be determined.  Miller, who died in a car accident in 1974, is receiving his award posthumously.

In addition to the banquet, the trio will be recognized the following day prior to UM's home football game against Mississippi Valley State.

With the addition of these three athletes, the GSHF is now comprised of 56 former athletes and coaches, along with five teams. There were no inductees last year.  Former record-setting running backs Yohance Humphery (1998-2001) and Dick Imer (1953-54) were inducted into the GSHF in September of 2014.

"One of the most enjoyable responsibilities I have as athletic director is to call former student-athletes and inform them of their induction into the Grizzly Sports Hall of Fame,” Haslam said. “Greta, Rocky, and Larry each have very different stories on how they arrived in Missoula, but they all have one thing in common, they were tremendous student-athletes and had amazing careers representing the University of Montana. It is an honor to welcome them to the Hall of Fame and celebrate their accomplishments."

A 6-3, 215-pound running back (he also played quarterback) from Anchorage, Alaska, Klever played at Montana from 1977-81.  At the conclusion of his four-year stint with the Grizzlies he was the school’s all-time leader in career rushing yards with 2,228.  Klever held that record for almost 30 years, until it was surpassed by Humphery, who is also from Anchorage, his junior season (2000), and Humphery finished his career with 4,070 rushing yards.  Klever is currently ranked fifth with his 2,228 career rushing yards.

Now a resident of Linwood, New Jersey, Klever is the only player in school history to receive the Terry Dillon Award (outstanding back/ receiver) three times (1978, 1979, 1981).  His senior season he rushed for a team-high 783 yards for the 7-3 Grizzlies, and was the Steve Carlson Award (MVP) winner.  He was the recipient of the Grizzly Cup in 1982, an award given to UM’s outstanding student-athlete.

“It’s more than just one guy going into the hall of fame – there were many people behind it,” said Klever in a recent phone interview.  “It really is nice to get in and it’s a huge honor.  I never really thought about it before.  I really enjoyed the University of Montana.  It’s awesome.”

When asked about some of his most memorable moments, he mentioned two things.

“I remember one game that we lost in the 1981 season,” Klever said.  “It was an important one (UM was playing for a share of the Big Sky title) against Weber State,” he said.  “The field was really muddy and it was a close game (the Griz lost that game 7-6 and went 7-3 that year).  I don’t think about a lot of games and whether or not that I played well or not -- but that game haunts me.  I was getting the ball a lot and maybe averaged just two or so yards a carry, but then I made a long run and I thought I should have scored on it, but I didn’t.  That’s the one main thing that bugs me.”

“And there was the Griz-Cat game in 1978,” Klever said.  “Dave Nickel (UM’s offensive coordinator) put in what he called the ‘shotgun flex’ offense, and it helped win that game and it was awesome.”  In that 1978 Montana-Montana State contest in Missoula, Klever, playing quarterback exclusively out of a shotgun formation, rushed for 111 yards and threw a touchdown pass in a 24-8 Grizzly victory over the Bobcats, who were ranked fourth in the new Division I-AA.  With the win the Griz snapped a six-game winning streak by the Cats before a record crowd of 13,044 in UM’s Dornblaser Field.

“Of all of the guys who I could have lost the record to, it was cool that the guy (Humphery) was from Alaska, and he was coached in high school by (Tom) Huffer (he played football for the Griz in 1963-64 and also coached Klever in high school in Anchorage).  That was really cool for Yohance Humphery to beat that record.  Quite frankly, I held it (the rushing record) for longer than it should have been held.  Look at Chase Reynolds and Lex Hilliard.  Both of those guys went over 4,000 career yards rushing.  I mean those guys were running backs, and I was just a football player.”

Klever played professionally for the New York Jets (he was a ninth-round draft pick) for five seasons, from 1983-87.  He was the Jet’s “March of Dimes Player of the Year” in 1988.  He has four children: Jake, Allie, Kelly, and Taylor.

A 6-2 forward, Buehler, who is from Malta, played for head coach Robin Selvig’s Lady Griz squads from 1993-97. During her career her teams had a combined overall record of 100-21; won four Big Sky Conference titles; and advanced to four NCAA tournaments.

“I am really honored,” said Buehler in a recent phone interview.  “It’s humbling and it’s exciting all at the same time.  This honor is directly related to the wonderful teammates and coaches I had.”

When asked what some of her favorite memories were, Buehler replied, “any time we played the Cats – those were always fun.  The NCAA games are probably the ones that stand out the most.  I have bits and pieces of things, but they all kind stick to my mind all together.  It was just a great time.   Maybe Weber, I think my junior year we played them in the Big Sky Conference championship.  That was a pretty fun game.”  (She scored a career-high 32 points in that game, a 72-60 victory over the Wildcats in Missoula.)

She also has fond memories of her former head coach, who is now in his 38th season as the head man at his alma mater.

“Rob’s a great coach,” she said.  “I just really appreciate all that he did for me.  He gave me the opportunity and then helped me to develop.  To play for a legend is an honor.  He’s so good to us, even now that we’re done.   He keeps everybody kind of close.  It’s just really special to be part of the Lady Griz basketball family, and to have played for Rob and the other coaches.”

Buehler was a Kodak All-Region 7 pick and honorable mention all-American following her junior and senior seasons.  She was named the Mary Louise Pope Zimmerman (Lady Griz MVP) award winner and the co-recipient of UM’s Outstanding Defensive Player award as a junior.  She was a two-time first team All-Big Sky selection, and the league’s MVP as a junior.  She is currently ranked fifth in school history with 846 career rebounds and tied for 19th in career scoring with 1,157 points.  Her 289 rebounds as a senior in 1996-97 are the second most ever in a season, and her 20 boards against MSU was also a single-game record at UM.  She played professionally for the Utah Starzz in 1997 -- the inaugural season of the WNBA.

Also an outstanding student, Buehler was chosen the Big Sky’s Scholar Athlete of the Year, and the NCAA Woman of the Year for the state of Montana as a senior in 1996-97.  She was an All-Big Sky academic selection four times.  Greta and her husband, Eric Buehler, a former Griz defensive lineman, have two sons, Austin, 11, and Brett, 8.

Miller, from Martinez, Calf., was a star in both football and in wrestling for the Grizzlies in 1969-70.  He was a stalwart on the defensive line for head coach Jack Swarthout (who was a GSHF inductee in November of 1995) on Montana’s two 10-1 football teams of 1969 and 1970, which advanced to the Camellia Bowl (college division national championship).  The 1969 and 1970 squads were inducted into the GSHF in 2009.

“Larry was cat-like, and at 5-9, 250 pounds he would get under the offensive players and just could not be blocked,” recalled Robin Peters, a teammate of Miller’s on those 1969-70 undefeated regular-season Griz squads.  “We had some great players on the D-line who played during Larry’s career -- guys like John Talolutu (1968-69), John Stedham (1967-69), Larry Stranahan (1968-70) and Jim Nordstrom (1968-70).  It’s too bad they didn’t keep track of sacks back then because Larry had a bunch of them.”

“He was just so powerful,” recalled Peters.  “We had those old universal weight machines back then, and I think they only went up to 300 pounds for the bench press, so Larry would have a guy stand on each of the handles and lift them up.  If he had been six feet tall he would have played at USC or a school like that.

“Larry was just a wonderful person, and he was a great find (he was a standout at Grays Harbor College in Washington before coming to UM) by the Grizzly football coaches – he was unstoppable on the football field,” Peters continued.  “Larry was a gentle soul who fit in so well on the team.  He was just an exemplary teammate on a team with an odd mix of players with diverse backgrounds.”

Miller, a defensive tackle, was twice named an All-American by the Associated Press, earning that recognition in 1969 and in 1970.  He was a first team All-Big Sky pick both of his seasons at Montana, and he was also a two-time, undefeated league champion in wrestling at the heavyweight division.

In 1976, Montana established the Larry Miller Award, which is presented annually to the Grizzlies’ “Outstanding Defensive Lineman.” The first player to win that award was Doug Betters (a GSHF inductee in September of 2003).

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