Montana's first and finest institution, Rocky Mountain College, has football history that dates as far back as 1931 with the hiring of Herb Klindt.Klindt was hired by the Billings Polytechnic Institute and he began instituting various sports in his first year as well as moving into the new Tyler Hall in December of 1931 with his wife Clara.Klindt and his football team were named co-conference champions of the Montana Collegiate Conference in 1938.His teams continued to dominate the conference for a period of five years from 1937-1942.
Klindts’ impact was not limited to sporting fields.In 1947 with the consolidation of Billings Polytechnic Institute and Intermountain Union College, Klindt was responsible for naming the consolidated colleges “Rocky Mountain College.”After lobbying for a contest on campus to name the college he then followed up by doing the same in naming the teams the “Bears.”
The Bears next Montana Collegiate Conference football titles came in 1955 and 1959 under the guidance of Coach Frank Mathew.
In 1970 the football field at Rocky was christened as Herb Klindt Field as a tribute to the iconic figure in Rocky Football history.
Rocky Mountain College went on to join the Frontier Conference in the 1978-79 school year.Rocky continues to compete in the Frontier Conference and the NAIA.Another change came in the 1983-83 school year with the vote of adding the teams’ moniker as they became the “Battlin’ Bears.”
RMC football earned Frontier Conference titles in 1984 under Coach Jim Palazollo and then again in 1991 under Coach Rick Ulrich.The first NAIA play-off win came in 1999 along with the first back to back Frontier Conference Championship titles in 1998 and 1999 under Coach Jeff Lewis.
Brian Armstrong took over in 2009 after working as the offensive coordinator for the Battlin' Bears in 2007 and 2008. Armstrong is following one of Rocky's longest tenured coaches, David Reeves. In 2010 Armstrong led the Battlin' Bears to their first winning season since 1999 and was name Frontier Conference Coach of the Year.
Rocky has had one player make it to the National Football League after finishing his career with the Battlin' Bears. Wide receiver Chris Horn of Notus, Idaho was signed as free agent in 2003 with the Kansas City Chiefs. Horn began the year on the practice squad until he was signed to their active roster on September 26th. His first career touchdown came on September 26, 2004 against the Houston Texans. His first career start came in the 2005 season on October 13, against the San Diego Chargers.
The Battlin’ Bears continue to compete in one of the toughest football conferences in the NAIA.The 2010 season marked the 34th season competing in the Frontier Conference as well as the 54rd season competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).