“By Megan Logan”
“Number 3, Max Gray up the middle,” was heard time and time again from the announcer’s box with an occasional “Max Gray all day” being called out from the crowd.
Times change though, and the 2019 graduate of Rocky Mountain College has hung up the Battlin’ Bear jersey and in its place, Gray now sports coaching gear; returning to the field as a running back coach.
Gray wasn’t always a Battlin’ Bear, prior to transferring to RMC the former wide receiver began his college career at Chadron State College and played on their football team, the Eagles. Although transferring to a different school seems to be more common than in years past, it can still be a difficult adjustment. Gray’s transfer was no different. “Transferring was a tough situation. I really enjoyed living in Chadron, but playing football and living in Billings worked out well for me.”
When Gray’s senior season wrapped up in 2018 he walked away as a Frontier Conference Champion, but he knew he wanted more. The All-American Wide Receiver continued to stay in shape and increase his work ethic in order to pursue a professional career in football. In the spring of 2019 Gray attended Montana State’s Pro Day in hopes of catching a coach’s eye. Pro Day was in March, it would be almost two months later that Gray would receive the call for his future, “A week before graduation I got a phone call from a weird number. It was my future coach, Coach Buffum, and he told me he wanted me to come play for him in two weeks. Fortunately, I was in decent shape. I decided to jump on that opportunity immediately.”
Those two months of playing for Coach Buffum were spent playing for the highest level of American football in Switzerland. Coach Buffum had recruited Gray to play for the Calanda Broncos, the most supported American football club in Switzerland. When asked if he would consider going back to Chur for another season Gray was clear that if he can, he will. “I played the second half of the season there” Gray stated, “and we ended up winning the National Championship. Winning, traveling, and meeting people were the best parts of the experience. I would love to go play another season in Chur if I can.”
For now, though, Gray’s focus is on the Battlin’s Bears. Due to the fact that he just graduated this past May, the running backs coach is now coaching some of his former teammates. While some may think that this would decrease the level of respect for a coach, Gray states that he has experienced the opposite. Coach Gray explains that his former teammates have been respectful and understanding of his new position on the team. He also states that while he does miss playing college ball, it hasn’t been super weird to not suit up for game days; the jersey and cleats might not be there anymore but the passion and energy still are. Plus, Gray found an added bonus of not playing, “ My body feels way better not being out there getting hit.”
Gray is very appreciative of his new role at Rocky and reached out to be sure that his appreciation would be represented in the article, “ I’m enjoying being around the guys and seeing them be successful in sports, school, and life. I also really appreciate Coach Stutz for allowing me to come and help out as a coach. He has been great. He takes care of the entire team and makes sure we are not just working to be great on the field but in school and in life.”
Once a Battlin’ Bear, always a Battlin’ Bear; and while Max Gray might not be running up the middle for the touchdown anymore, for now, he’s still putting in the ‘all-day Max Gray’ effort into coaching the 2019 RMC Battlin’ Bears.