(Editor's note: Each Monday for eight weeks, MTN Sports is featuring a member of the 2022 Montana Football Hall of Fame Class leading into the June 25 banquet at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center. Tickets are available on the organization's website.)
BILLINGS - Shann Schillinger grew up in a football family as rich in tradition as you'll find.
His legend started in the small town of Baker pressed up against the Montana-Dakota boarder. And it only grew from there as both player and coach.
After dominating both sides of the field in high school and winning some state championships, Schillinger escalated to a hard-hitting first-team All-Big Sky safety for the Griz. He exited Missoula with a perfect record against Montana State and having played in two FCS national title games.
From there, he was drafted sixth round by the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, joining Hardin native Kroy Biermann who'd already become a notable defensive gem on Atlanta's roster. Schillinger recounted to MTN Sports in 2019 his 'Welcome to the NFL' moment.
“My first game we played at Heinz Field versus the Steelers. Opening day there and seeing Troy Polamalu, all those guys and that stadium with the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I just kind of remember before the opening kickoff just looking around, going, ‘Wow, this is the real deal.’
Schillinger played for the Falcons between 2010-2013 before shifting to the Titans.
Then his coaching career blossomed. He was an assistant at Dickinson State and Nebraska before returning to the Griz to coach safeties in 2016.
Just a few months ago opportunity knocked again in the Power 5, and Schillinger jetted to Mississippi State where he's settling in as a defensive analyst for the Bulldogs under Mike Leach. Only 35 when he took the Bulldogs job, who knows how high his ceiling his.