MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) Montana coach Mick Delaney is retiring at the end of the season.
Delaney told his assistants and players about his decision on Sunday as they began preparations for this weekend's Montana-Montana State game.
Delaney's teams have posted an overall record of 22-13 over the past three seasons. The Grizzlies are 7-4 overall and tied for second in the Big Sky with a 5-2 record this season.
Delaney was an assistant at Montana from 2008-2011 and he retired briefly before coming back as head coach in 2012. Delaney turns 72 next month.
''It's time for someone younger with a lot of energy and so forth to come in,'' Delaney said.
Delaney said he hopes assistants within the program are given strong consideration for what he called ''one of the best jobs in America.''
Athletic director Kent Haslam thanked Delaney for his contributions and said the school will begin its search for a new coach.
''This is a wonderful place to work and live. We have great momentum right now and I am confident we will find a head coach that can build on that momentum,'' Haslam said in a statement.
Delaney coached football and wrestling at Butte Central and then Great Falls High before serving as an assistant to Montana coach Jack Swarthout from 1968-69. He was an assistant at Montana State from 1978-81, was head coach at Montana Western from 1991-92 and was running backs coach at Colorado State from 1993-2007 before returning to Montana.
The Grizzlies likely need a win over Montana State on Saturday to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Defensive end Zack Wagenmann told the Missoulian that the Griz will play with a little extra emotion.
''We want to send him out the right way,'' Wagenmann said. ''He deserves that. He's given so much to us, so much to the program. It would only be right to send him off the right way.''