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BOBCATS 125: Paul McLean, Corky Dyer and Don Cosner


Bill Lambert

Montana State did not enjoy great team success in the 1930s, but several individuals played the lead

Ahead of the 2022 season, the 125th anniversary of Montana State’s first football team, we’ll be looking at 125 of the greatest Bobcats. You can find details here and a directory here. This particular entry honors three men who played in a difficult time for the team’s success at Montana State, but all three hold a special place in Bobcat history. Paul McLean was part of a class of players who beat the Grizzlies twice, Corky Dyer was one of Montana State’s first All-Americas, and Don Cosner – however briefly – was Montana State’s first Bobcat. the NFL.

Paul McLean, C, 1929-1932

ALL-TIME TEAM: 1933 Exhibitor 1st team

HONORS: 2nd Team All-State in 1931 and 1932

TO LOOK CLOSER: Paul McLean was a standout center for the Bobcats during the program’s highly successful period from the 1920s through the 1930s. Playing with some of the program’s biggest stars, McLean (whose name was spelled a dizzying number of ways in school publications) helped the Bobcats go 16-13-1 in his four years, including two wins over the Grizzlies.

SINCE 1933 EXHIBITOR: “Among the newest men to make the legendary XI is MacLean. (Coach Schubert) Dyche singles him out as one of the best centers to ever play in Montana or any other state. MacLean had the opportunity to go to bigger schools but didn’t accept them.because he wanted to play with the Bobcats.His stellar work landed him twice on the all-state team but he never was able to crash into the all-conference team. His stellar defensive work against the Grizzly Eleven played a prominent role in the Grizzlies losing twice in his four years.”

Harold “Corky” Dyer, G, 1930-33

ALL-TIME TEAM: None before

HONORS: Honorable Mention All-America in 1933, 1st Team All-State in 1933

TO LOOK CLOSER: One of the original Bobcat All-Americas, Corky Dyer has seen the ups and downs of Bobcat football. Montana State was 6-3 in its first season in 1930, but a year later the Cats fell to 1-5-1. The 1932 team finished 3-3-1 and beat the Grizzlies, but the 1933 season saw the team compile a 2-5 mark. Dyer, a mechanical engineering major from Moore, was an SAE, belonged to Scabbard and Blade military honor, was lettered three times in wrestling, and also participated in a band as a rookie.

Don Cosner, HB, 1935-38

ALL-TIME TEAM: None before

HONORS: 1st team All-Rocky Mountain Conference in 1938, honorable mention All-Rocky Mountain Conference in 1937

TO LOOK CLOSER: It’s barely a footnote in NFL history, but the only game Don Cosner played for the Chicago Cardinals in 1939 (statless) is monumental in the annals of Bobcat football. That single game gave Cosner the distinction of becoming Bobcat’s first college player to play in the National Football League.
Cosner was born in Malta, Montana in 1917 when his mother Rubye was married to a man surnamed Philbrick. Rubye remarried in 1924, her husband Clarence Cosner adopting Don and changing his surname. Records indicate that Don Cosner graduated from Malta High and started at Montana State in the fall of 1935. He was considered a fixture in the Bobcat backfield throughout his time at Montana State and was the 1st All-Rocky Mountain Conference team as a senior. The following fall, Cosner made history by becoming the first Bobcat to play in the NFL when he appeared in a game with the Chicago Cardinals. Cosner enlisted in the service and served in the US Air Force during World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, earned a bronze star, and remained affiliated with the military for most of the rest of his life.

FROM MONTANAN 1939: “Don Cosner – Probably the most versatile man in our team backfield this year was Don Cosner. part of the overrun tasks.”