Montana coach Delaney to retire after season

Missoula, MT ( - Montana football coach Mick Delaney announced Sunday he will retire at the conclusion of the 2014 football season.

Delaney told his assistant coaches and players earlier in the day as they began preparing for their final regular-season game on Saturday at home against rival Montana State.

Montana is 7-4 this season and 22-13 in three seasons under Delaney. Saturday's Big Sky Conference game is considered a must-win as the Grizzlies look to return to the FCS playoffs.

"It's a really, really difficult situation to be in, but after a lot of dialog and conversation with the administration, Dr. (UM President Royce) Engstrom and Kent (Haslam, Montana's director of athletics), for the good of the university and Montana football I realize that they have to have somewhat of a long-range plan.

"I'm year-by-year (contractually), and sometimes it seems like week-by-week, just from an energy standpoint, and I always felt through my whole career that when the time was right I would know it is right," added Delaney, who will turn 72 on Dec. 2.

"It's time for someone younger with a lot of energy and so-forth to come in. I would hope from my standpoint that somebody within the program would certainly be highly considered, but that's not my decision to make as we get going."

Montana is one of the most storied programs in FCS history. The Grizzlies have appeared in seven national championship games, winning titles in 1995 and 2001.