Ray Brum already was pretty well traveled by the time he arrived at the University of Montana to play quarterback in 1968.
But his pre-UM travels were nothing compared to those that have followed his two-year football career in Missoula.
Brum - a native of Honolulu - came to the mainland to play at Columbia Basic Junior College in Pasco, Wash., in 1965. Following a year there he transferred to the University of Washington, spending two years there, one as a redshirt.
Looking for more playing time, Brum transferred to UM - at that time a Division Two school - to play for second-year head coach Jack Swarthout. Brum's JC coach, Wally Brown, was one of Swarthout's assistants.
One season later, piloting the Grizzlies' newly-installed Wishbone offense, Brum guided Montana to the first of two straight 10-0 regular seasons, earning Associated Press honorable mention All-America honors for his efforts.
Other UM All-Americans that year were fullback Les Kent, defensive tackle Larry Miller, free safety Karl Stein and offensive tackle Tuufuli Uperesa.
Brum got his degree in business management in the spring of 1970, headed back to Honolulu, and has never been in Missoula since.
But he's been just about everywhere else..
Brum's mother was already in the hotel business when he graduated, so Brum said it was natural for him to go home and start working in the same business since tourism is the top industry in Hawaii.
"Started at the bottom and worked my way up," Brum said.
He worked for Westin Hotels for about 25 years, traveling the world while working in various capacities, finally winding up in the sales and marketing area.
From Hawaii he went to Colorado Springs and Denver, Colo., then Detroit, then Chicago. From Chicago he moved to Houston, Tex., where he is now.
"I've been a regional director of sales marketing for 12 states out of Chicago," Brum said. "I've opened probably nine hotels in different cities throughout the United States. I've worked in Singapore in a 2,000-room Westin property."
In the early 90s Brum was running a Westin hotel on the island of Kauai that was demolished by a hurricane. That was a life-changing experience for Brum, who then began working on corporate assignments, opening various hotels in places like the Caribbean and Mexico using Houston as his base.
In 1995 he decided to part company with Westin, and since has worked for a number of different hotel companies.
For the past three years he's been director of group and corporate sales for the independent Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa, what Brum described as a very high-end property with a 120,000-square-foot fitness center and a 17,000-square-foot spa, both ranked in the top 10 nationally, he said.
Brum also said coming out of UM he actually had envisioned himself doing exactly what he has done. And he's thoroughly enjoyed taking on one new challenge after another.
"Everyone has (times) when you sit down in kind of a lonely moment and go, 'what the hell am I doing? Why don't I just go home (to Hawaii) and be done with this whole thing and move on?'" Brum said. "And you just get up the next day and go, 'well, it's a challenge. This is what you said you wanted. Let's go get it done.'"
While Brum grew up also liking baseball and basketball he concentrated mainly on football at storied St. Louis High School, which later would be coached by Tommy Lee, who eventually found his way to Missoula as Don Read's offensive coordinator.
Brum said he probably wasn't good enough to make his high school baseball team or tall enough to make the basketball team.
The versatile Brum thinks Grizzly coaches were interested in him because they thought he could handle the team's conversion to the Wishbone.
"They had a feeling …that I had a good understanding of what reads were to be done," Brum recalled, "how to maybe call an audible or two at the line.
"Audibling was sort of a mystery to everyone," Brum laughed, "and how to do it and when to do it against what defenses."
Brum also appreciated the fact that the coaching staff was able to build a team suited to run the relatively new offense that Swarthout had picked up from one of his mentors, Darrell Royal at the University of Texas.
Brum said the offense was simple to run "if you have the mental capacity to make reads." But it was a nightmare for opposing defenses to stop, and UM made serious hay with the Wishbone, especially during the 1969 and 1970 seasons.
"We had a fairly aggressive and large offensive line," Brum said. "We had some great running backs."
The first read in the Wishbone was the fullback into the line going either left or right. Montana had a great one in Kent, a quick starter who rushed for 1,554 yards during those two seasons and piled up 227 in one game at Portland State in 1969.
That number still ranks second all time for a single-game rushing performance by a Grizzly.
Kent was such a quick starter that opposing coaches regularly complained that he was in motion more often than not. Even on film it was tough to tell whether or not he had left his stance early.
"That was sort of Les's real edge against the competition," Brum recalled. "He really didn't have what some folks today would consider (true fullback size). Les had a lot of heart (and) was very quick (with) a very high football IQ."
Brum said Kent had fun playing football in addition to being very physical for his size - he maybe topped out at about 220 pounds - and his abilities made the job easier for his teammates.
While there may have been concerns at the time about such a large influx of junior college transfers to UM, Brum said it worked so well because Swarthout's coaching staff came from Washington junior colleges. They knew what they were getting because they had coached, or coached against, most of the players they brought to Missoula.
The key was blending the newcomers with the players already on campus. Brum again thought Swarthout and his staff did an excellent job of that.
"Missoula wasn't a cup of tea for everyone so it took a special person (and) special understanding of where you were going to go to school," Brum recalled, noting that many of the recruits struggled with the cold weather.
One former teammate Brum singled out for praise was the mammoth - at that time - Uperesa, who hailed from American Samoa. Brum said "Fuli" - as he often was called - had "a lot of passion for the game."
He also credited Uperesa, who played at about 275 pounds, with being a great leader by example. Brum said an especially savage Uperesa block during a game against Boise State served as a wake-up call when the Grizzlies needed a spark.
After knocking a Bronco defender out cold Uperesa returned the Grizzly huddle with a cut above his nose and said, "Gentlemen, this is what we're looking for."
Brum said players often miss the overall value of the athletics-plus-educational experience while they're in the middle of it. But he has no doubt now what it has done for him.
At the time, though, the most important thing was the camaraderie among the players and coaches and the friendships that were being developed. And the feeling during that first undefeated season Brum likened to being involved in a no-hitter in baseball.
"You never heard people talk about the wins as they started to build," Brum said. "It was sort of a quiet confidence. Everyone knew what we were doing. Internally each one of us had a clock that knew what was happening but (we) never outwardly voiced the fact that we were on this run."
Brum's parents still live in Hawaii and he makes it a point to get back there often to see his family. But he seldom second guesses his decisions over time not to move back there to work even though he has dealt with some loneliness issues.
He took care of some of that loneliness by finally getting married almost 17 years ago. He and his wife, Laura, a native Texan he met - you guessed it - in the hotel business. It was an ideal match because she, too, is very interested in sports, especially football.
The couple has no children.
As for his former UM days Brum remains part of an e-mail group of former Griz players that stay in touch with each other on a fairly regular basis. Many of them gathered in Missoula a couple of seasons back to honor Swarthout, who died a few months later, but Brum was unable to make it.
While he's watched the Grizzlies on television he seemed unaware that the stadium is back on campus. But Brum is aware - and proud - that former Griz Cory Procter is on the Dallas Cowboys roster. He watches the NFL draft every year to see if any Grizzlies are picked.
"It looks different," Brum said. "The uniforms and the stadium and the grass. But I was proud to see them come that way and that the program has grown over all that time, and it's a pretty stellar program."
Then it was time for one last remembrance of his UM days. Like many of his teammates his thoughts go back to defensive coordinator Jack Elway.
"I thought, 'man, this guy's a maniac,'" Brum laughed. "(But) he and I really got along. And I learned from him a lot about what to do with defenses.
"He was the one who sort of told me what to be looking for when we broke (the) huddle and how the defense was lined up," Brum recalled. "So he was very influential in making me understand what defenses they were in and making sure of the reads."
Brum remains impressed with what UM has done since he left.
"Really, I'm very, very proud of the school and the fact that I was associated with it," he said. "It's a sin that I haven't come back. I definitely will have to make a point of doing that."