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Mar 29, 2012 10:47 PM by Breanna Roy (KPAX News)

Engstrom won't discuss firings, says it's a personnel issue

MISSOULA- So why did two of the most high profile athletic figures in Montana get fired on Thursday? The answer is, we still don't know.

University of Montana President Royce Engstrom is standing by the following four-sentence statement he released earlier Thursday:

"The University of Montana has determined not to renew the contracts of Athletics Director Jim O'Day and head football coach Robin Pflugrad. The University will announce an interim athletics director and interim head coach by the end of the week. Further details about the search for permanent replacements will be released as the process develops. We thank Jim and Robin for their dedicated service to the University, and we wish them the best."

We caught Engstrom between meetings outside his office and he said that he can't and won't discuss the reason for firing O'Day or Pflugrad because it's a personnel issue.

Late Thursday afternoon the UM Excellence Foundation forwarded another statement from Engstrom. In it, he says he made this decision in the long-term interests of the University and the athletic program.

But there's a lot of unanswered questions still lingering, including why these two were fired and if the university has to now pay O'Day and Pflugrad to buy out their contracts.

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