Montana fires AD, coach Pflugrad

HELENA, Mont. — The University of Montana fired football coach Robin Pflugrad and athletic director Jim O'Day on Thursday, adding more uncertainty to a program already dealing with sexual assault allegations against two players.

"The University of Montana has determined not to renew the contracts of Athletics Director Jim O'Day and head football coach Robin Pflugrad," university President Royce Engstrom said in a statement.

O'Day and Engstrom addressed staff and coaches in separate meetings Thursday morning, but neither gave a reason for the firings.

The firings cap six months of tumult for the university and the football program.

Earlier this month, a university student accused starting quarterback Jordan Johnson of sexually assaulting her. No charges have been filed.

Johnson, a former Sheldon High standout, was temporarily suspended from spring practice while a temporary restraining order was issued against him. After the restraining order was dissolved last week to be replaced by a civil no-contact agreement, Johnson was allowed to participate in a Saturday scrimmage.

In January, running back Beau Donaldson was suspended from the team after he was charged with raping an acquaintance in September 2010. He has pleaded not guilty.

Last fall, police used a stun gun against two football players after quarterback Gerald Kemp and cornerback Trumaine Johnson scuffled with officers responding to a noise complaint.

Pflugrad, a former Oregon assistant, was the Big Sky Conference football coach of the year in 2011 after he guided the Grizzlies to a co-conference championship in his second year as coach. Sam Houston State defeated Montana in the semifinals of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

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