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Former Montana Grizzly basketball player, track and field standout Bill Rice dies

Former Montana Grizzly basketball player, track and field standout Bill Rice dies

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Bill Rice for obit

Bill Rice

MISSOULA — Bill Rice, who competed in basketball and as a track and field jumper for the Montana Grizzlies in the 1960s, has died.

Rice, a Nebraska native and decorated Vietnam veteran who retired as a lieutenant colonel, was 76. He was living in Beaufort, South Carolina.

According to his obituary, which appeared in The Chadron (Nebraska) Record, Rice received an athletic scholarship to Montana for basketball and track and field. He lettered all four years in track and three in basketball and majored in wildlife biology.

Rice was a standout jumper for the Grizzlies and previously held school records of 6 feet, 7 ¾ inches in the high jump and 46-6 ½ in the triple jump. He also posted a mark of 22-11 ½ in the long jump and won all three events at a U.S. Federation Meet as a senior.

The 6-foot-5 Rice started many games for the basketball team as a junior and senior. He reportedly had “the best two-handed backward dunk shot in the area.”

Rice received the Grizzly Cup, which was awarded to the top scholar-athlete at the University of Montana, in 1965.

—Bill Speltz, 406mtsports.com

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