Supporters of UM athletics, rejoice: Washington-Grizzly Champions Center now open

By: CTA In The News
23 October 2017


On a chilly Friday afternoon on Homecoming weekend, the ribbon was officially cut on the Washington-Grizzly Champions Center — a state-of-the-art training facility for all 15 of Montana’s varsity programs, new football locker room, and more — ushering in a new championship standard for Grizzly Athletics. What started with a grand vision and a $7 million lead gift from Kyle and Kevin Washington on behalf of the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation in 2014 has become a reality.

With the Washingtons’ lead gift, Montana director of athletics Kent Haslam and his staff set out to capture the imagination of Grizzly supporters and donors around the country and finally put dreams to paper, and shovels to dirt. “Today we re-celebrate that amazing donation and the donations of many, many others that made the Washington-Grizzly Champions Center a reality,” Haslam said to a crowd of roughly 500 gathered for the ribbon cutting. “To say this is a program-changing day is an absolute understatement,” Haslam added. “What started as a concept, a vision of what could happen, a vision some thought just couldn’t be done, couldn’t fit in this space, couldn’t be done on budget, on time… Well, guess what folks, we did it.”

The dream even inspired former Heisman Trophy winner and Washington family friend Herschel Walker, who was on hand in Missoula to help dedicate the building. The 51,000 square foot building includes not only a new football locker room but facilities for all of Montana’s over 300 student-athletes to help them perform at their very best. “I’m going to tell you the Washington-Grizzly Champions Center is one of the best centers I’ve seen in a lot of the many places I’ve been,” Walker added. “You’re going to have champions here, and I’m happy to be a part of it.

The Montana football team reacts to seeing the new locker room facilities for the first time.

The Champions Center features five team meeting rooms for use by all of Montana’s programs, as well as a new football team meeting room dedicated to the 1995 National Championship team that will also be used to host recruits on game day. The new Athletic Performance Center features 20 full four-post weight racks with 20 half-racks attached on the back side, allowing the entire football or track team, or multiple groups of student-athletes, to train simultaneously.

Upstairs is a 67-foot lane of turf for running and sprinting drills, with built-in speed ladders and an embedded Griz script logo, allowing for training, rehab, and cardio work to be done while the weight room is in use. The football locker room is also one of the showpiece spaces in the Washington-Grizzly Champions Center, giving the Griz a much-needed update to the cramped living quarters they’ve been housed in for decades. Adjacent to the player’s locker room is a locker room specifically for former Griz who have gone on to the professional ranks to utilize when they return to Missoula to train in the offseason, and will also house Montana’s coaching staff.


  • 51,000+ square foot Washington-Grizzly Champions Center
  • 19,400+ square foot Athletic Performance Center for all student-athletes
  • Jared and Maile Losing Nutrition/Refueling Station
  • 7,100+ square foot football locker room featuring 118 lockers
  • The Markovich Family Professional Athlete and Coaches’ Locker Room
  • 2,000 square foot team room for football
  • Five meeting rooms for use by all student-athletes
  • Additional restrooms and concession stands along the southwest stadium concourse


  • Facility Masterplan by sportsPLAN Studio of Kansas City, MO
  • Architect of record is CTA Architects Engineers of Missoula, MT
  • Construction by Jackson Contractor Group, Inc. of Missoula, MT
  • Interior graphics package by superGraphics of Seattle, WA

Read more on, and check out additional coverage on


“This project started in 2015 and was an extremely complicated build and delivery. To see it come together like this, and to know all the ideas and input from many different individuals has resulted in a collaborative result that will really impact the student-athletes, is exciting and rewarding. As part of a diverse team, I am most proud of how everyone has worked together to make this a reality.”

  • Write a comment