Peter Bulger
Montana Kaimin

The Rev. Jim Hogan is no longer the chaplain for the University of Montana football team after holding the position for 23 years. He hasn’t been with the team since before the season began.

Hogan, a Catholic priest at Christ the King church, issued a written statement to the Kaimin. In it, he said, “Coach (Bobby) Hauck wanted me to “say Mass” for the team on Saturday mornings. For various reasons I consider that an inappropriate time and declined, while suggesting an alternate time. He then informed me that I was no longer needed to minister as team chaplain. Beyond that I have no comment.”

Hogan would not answer further questions. He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to be involved with the team. He said that his and Hauck’s ideas of his role as Chaplain differed and although he’s disappointed with the decision, he respects Hauck’s responsibility and wishes the Grizzlies luck.

Both Hauck and UM Athletic Director Don Read preferred not to comment on the situation. Read coached the Grizzlies when Hogan began working with the team in 1986. When asked what effect team chaplains have on teams, Hauck said none and added, “We’re a state university. We have no official affiliation with any church or chaplain.”

When Read coached, he said, Hogan acted as a type of counselor for players, listening to their concerns on any subject. He said most of the time Hogan also “gave chapel,” a gathering the Grizzlies have before games when somebody shares inspirational or spiritual words.

“When I was here, most institutions across the country had spiritual counselors to help students with their concerns,” Read said. He added that he considered the position a valuable one.

Hogan received nothing in return for his service from the department, Read said. Grizzly fans have been critical of Hogan lately on, a Web site on which fans can post their thoughts on matters involving the team.

Former Grizzly linebacker Adam Boomer, who played from 1996 to 2000, said Hogan was good at including everyone in “chapel,” regardless of their religion. “He was a great influence and a great man,” Boomer said. “He always had an open heart for us.”