Montana: Top Student-Athlete Left Due to Firing of Obama Brother-in-Law


The firing of President Obama’s brother-in-law cost Montana what the New York Times called the best basketball family in the country (pictured). The journalists we talked to said Tres Tinkle following his dad Wayne to Oregon State left baskeball center Martin Breunig as clearly the top student-athlete in the country.

Former Montana player and coach Wayne Tinkle and his state Hall of Fame wife Lisa Tinkle parented three superstar Montana high school student-athletes who fans hoped might take the Montana men’s and women’s teams to new heights after their Montana high school days.

Joslyn Tinkle chose to go to Stanford, then Elle Tinkle went to Gonzaga, but with Wayne coaching the Montana men’s team high hopes existed that Tres Tinkle would give the University of Montana one more superstar from the state’s first family of basketball.

The hopes crashed last year when Oregon State finally fired President Obama’s brother-in-law Craig Robinson, which Oregon Register-Guard reporter Benjamin Schorzman called well overdue: “Robinson just couldn’t deliver on any of his promises when he was hired. Frankly I think his relationship to the Obamas was the only reason he lasted six years because Oregon State was middling to bad every year.”

Oregon State managed to get Wayne to leave the University of Montana to take over the program, and Tres decided to follow his father out of the state.

While the Tinkles are the top Montana family, Phil Jackson is the greatest basketball coach in modern history and is the greatest athlete ever from the state according to the December 23, 2012, Bleacher Report.

While Montana and Montana State, the Grizzlies and Bobcats, dominate the rankings, Carroll College has been an NAIA football power and a recent U-15 softball team dominated opponents to take the national title.

While certainly the NAIA stars could not match up with the Grizzlies and Bobcats, Carroll College now hopes that All-American defensive back James Dowgin can help them back to the top. Other NAIA returning All-Americans are Montanta Tech’s David Meis (DLine) and Rocky Mountain’s wide receiver Andre McCullouch.

We are thrilled to see Ellis Henderson back on the field after his battles with depression and contemplation of suicide.

Tres Tinkle was not the only great youth player in the state.

In softball, Newbary tossed a one-hitter and smashed a three-run homer to put a 10-0 finale in the title game over a team from Escanaba, Michigan, and complete an incredible national tournament run in which the Montana team claimed the senior title with six national wins by a combined total score of 60-5.

While Tres will not be a Griz in college, the Lady Griz managed to keep two-time high school player of the year Taylor Goligoski at home to play her college ball.

Macy Newbary led that state youth all-star team to the national title with a combined 60-5 margin in six championship games and Montana State Offensive Lineman JP Flynn ranked number one when we ran the numbers at Value Add Sports, but media votes pushed Breunig into No. 1 in rankings that will be updated at, where the top athletes from each of the 50 states are listed. 

Here are the top 20 to watch.

  1. Martin Breunig, Montana, Basket, C
  2. Macy Newbary, Zootown Youth National Champ All-Stars, Softball, P
  3. JP Flynn, Montana State Bobcats, Foot, OLine
  4. Dakota Prukop, Montana State Bobcats, Foot, QB
  5. Ellis Henderson, Montana, Football, WR
  6. James Dowgin, Carroll, Football, Defensive Back  
  7. Taylor Goligoski, basketball, prep star now Lady Griz
  8. Kendrick Van Ackeren, Montana Grizzlies, Foot, LB
  9. Hallie Widner, Montana, Soccer, Forward
  10. Jones, Jamaal, Montana Grizzlies, Foot, Rec
  11. Kailey Norman, Montana, Soccer, GK
  12. Jensen Lillquist, Track/Field, JavelinMen
  13. Mario Dunn, Montana, Basket, PG
  14. Andre McCullouch, Rocky Mountain, Football, Wide Receiver
  15. David Meis, Montana Tech, Football, Defensive Line
  16. Quinn Catalano, Montana State Bobcats, Foot, OLine
  17. Taylor Sheridan, Montana State Bobcats, Foot, OLine
  18. Brandon Gfeller, Montana, Basket, PF
  19. Jeremiah Kose, Montana Grizzlies, Foot, LB
  20. Fabijan Krslovic, Montana, Basketball, PF