For the first time since 1993, the Orediggers of Montana Tech have won the 2022-2023 George Bandy Memorial All-Sports Award.

The All-Sports trophy is named in honor of the first Commissioner of the Frontier Conference, George Bandy. George, his wife Cheryl Ann, and their recently adopted 8-year-old son Michael died tragically in a boating accident on Canyon Ferry Reservoir, in the summer of 1983.

A native of Sacramento, California, Mr. Bandy devoted his life to education. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s from Sacramento State College, before earning his doctorate in education from the University of Montana.

He moved to Montana in 1952 after serving our nation in the Navy. Belgrade High School was his first stop, as a teacher and coach. In 1956 he headed north to Northern Montana College, where he became the first head football coach for the Lights. In his years at Northern, he would serve as a coach, athletic director, dean of education, vice president, and in 1975 acting president.

In 1976 Mr. Bandy accepted the position of interim president of Western Montana College. He left Western in 1978 to take the position of Chief Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education, he served in that capacity until the end of June 1979, when her retired.

The first George Bandy Memorial Frontier Conference All-Sports Award was first presented the year following the family’s tragic passing.

The Bandy Award is presented each year to the conference school that has accumulated the most points based on its regular season league finish in football, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, and men’s and women’s outdoor track.

The regular season champs in each sport receive 17 points, second place receives 12, 10 for third, 9 for fourth, 8 for fifth, 7 points for sixth, 6 for seventh, and 3 points for eighth.

Oredigger volleyball2- JonWick_5518Design

If there is a tie in the regular season standings, the points for the place finishings are added together and then divided by the number of teams tied.

The first Bandy Award was presented to Western Montana College after the 1982-1983 season.

Montana Tech’s win of the 2022-2023 award is the school’s 4th overall win, but first since 1992-1993. (Other wins coming in 1987-88, and in 1989-90)

This is the slimmest margin of victory in the history of the award. Montana Tech winning 130 to 129.8 over Carroll College. Montana Tech claimed regular season championships in men’s basketball, men’s and women’s outdoor track, as well as volleyball.

Orediggers celebration in the endzone- photo courtesy of JonWick/5518Design
Orediggers celebration in the endzone- photo courtesy of JonWick/5518Design

Carroll claimed titles this year in women’s cross country, women’s basketball, and shared the football title with College of Idaho. Rocky Mountain College won the frontier conference titles in both men’s and women’s golf.

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