Dave, Craig Dickenson set to square off in first preseason matchup

CALGARY — History will be made in Canada this week when two members of the same Great Falls family go head to head for the first time as head coaches.

Former Great Falls CMR and Montana legend Dave Dickenson is coming off a 2018 CFL Grey Cup championship with the Calgary Stampeders and enters his 11th season with the team, his fourth as head coach.

Dave’s older brother Craig was promoted to head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders in January after a long career as an assistant and coordinator at all levels.

They’ve faced off several times in the past when one or both were CFL assistants, but Friday’s preseason game at McMahon Stadium will mark the first time they’ve stood on opposite sidelines as the guys in charge.

“I do think it will be fun, I think he’ll say the same, I know we’re both proud,” Dave said. “We know it’s a rare occurrence to getting to where we are, but then once kickoff goes it will be play the game and enjoy the game.

He cracked a smile.

“A lot of people think I am the older brother, maybe I just look old,” Dave continued. “But he’s always been the guy that’s given me the advice, given me the extra time, given me the keys to keep me on the right path.”

Though Dave has been a head coach longer, Craig has the longer coaching career. He started as an assistant with Montana in 1995 and has made stops in the FBS, NFL and CFL.

“He’s got a good handle on what he’s doing,” Dave said. “He’s been coaching longer than I have. I’m wishing him the best of luck, just not when we play him.”

Craig knows the moment is special, but the first-year head coach hasn’t really had time to think about.

“It’s going to be fun, but I have a lot of work to do,” Craig said. “It’s not like we have a lot of time to sit back and think about it. You have work to do.”

How does the rest of the tight-knit Dickenson family view the first-ever “Dickenson Bowl”?

“I haven’t checked with them, I haven’t even had time to call my parents,” Craig laughed. “My nephew hit a three-run home run last night to win a baseball game in Oregon, so that’s the big news in the Dickenson household.”

Gamesmanship aside, both brothers agree the focus of their matchups should be on the players.

“We both agree that players win the games,” Dave said. “Coaches just screw things up. I hope I screw up a little less than Craig.”

The Stampeders and Roughriders kick off at 7 p.m. Friday.

Tom Wylie

Tom Wylie

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