Apsey’s attributes—and patience—pay off

Curt Apsey had just left his Boise State senior associate athletic director’s post last October. It didn’t take long this time. Curt Apsey will be the new Boise State athletic director, replacing Mark Coyle, who was just named the new AD at Syracuse last Friday night. Apsey just left his BSU senior associate athletic director’s post last October to take the AD job at Carroll College in Montana. He was respected within the BSU athletic department and was key to facilities upgrades, most visibly the Steuckle Sky Center that opened in 2008. Apsey struck while the iron was hot. To be sure, plans for the stadium addition were already well underway, but when Boise State beat Oklahoma on New Year’s Day 2007, Apsey made sure the groundbreaking shovels were in the dirt for the Steuckle on Valentine’s Day. The second time’s a charm—he had served as the interim AD after Gene Bleymaier was fired in August, 2011.

Apsey’s first stay at Boise State started in 1998, the year Dirk Koetter became head football coach. It was the following season that the Broncos began the remarkable run that continues to this day. Apsey, in his fundraising role, did not sit idly by when Boise State reached each of its stepping stones. When the Broncos became a Top 25 regular, Apsey jumped on generating support for the Caven-Williams indoor facility. Following the Steuckle Sky Center was the Arguinchona Basketball Complex—then the massive Bleymaier Football Center. That materialized when Chris Petersen, uh, almost went to Stanford. And the latest addition, DeChevrieux Field, has provided the Broncos with a grass practice surface as smooth as a golf fairway. Smoother than Chambers Bay, anyway.

The thing about Coyle that apparently tickled Syracuse’s fancy was football. Boise State’s latest trip to the Fiesta Bowl and its regular appearances in the Top 25 resonated with the Orange’s search committee. Syracuse hasn’t been ranked since 2001, and it has a long way to go to be considered a contender in the ACC. “Our expectations are we want to compete at a high level, and that means winning the ACC championship and going to special bowl games,” Coyle said at his introductory news conference. “Special” would mean anything in the Fiesta Bowl mode.

Boise State has picked up one of the big, rangy future wide receivers it’s been looking for. Julian Carter, a 6-2 185-pounder from Saguaro High in Scottsdale, tweeted his verbal to the Broncos last night. Carter played his junior season at Horizon High in Scottsdale, making 47 catches for 693 yards and seven touchdowns. Carter, who had nine Division I offers, is Boise State’s seventh commitment for the 2016 recruiting class.

FoxSports.com’s Stewart Mandel got so much reaction from his “realignment winners and losers” analysis that his next mailbag was almost an all-realignment thing. It didn’t deal with Boise State, but it did touch on BYU, and Mandel was brutally honest about the Cougars’ quest to get into a Power 5 conference. One reader asked what the Pac-12’s hang-up is with BYU. Wrote Mandel: “Chalk that one up to a lack of ‘cultural fit.’ Simply put, BYU is a conservative, religious university; the Pac-12 mostly consists of large state schools (save for Stanford and USC) and includes some of the most liberal enclaves in the country (Berkeley, Palo Alto, L.A., Seattle and the state of Oregon). Normally I scoff whenever any commissioner or president claims a realignment move is driven by anything other than athletics and TV households, but in this case it’s very real.”

The “shade blimp,” rendered ineffective by high winds Sunday night and, well, an overall lack of shade, was absent from Memorial Stadium last night. So was the Boise Hawks’ offense after a first-inning home run by Max George and another manufactured run, and Tri-City took the season-opening series with a 5-2 win. Yonathan Daza’s bat continues to be hot—he was 3-for-4 to up his average to .400 on the young season. It was a disappointing homecoming for Tri-City’s Mason Smith. The Rocky Mountain High grad went 0-for-14 in the series. The Hawks’ string of four straight crowds of 3,000-plus came to an end, as attendance was an announced 2,549. Still a solid start at the gate, though.

We’ve followed Smith the past five days as he played for Tri-City during the Hawks’ first homestand. Another former Treasure Valley standout, Meridian High product Tanner Leighton, has taken a far more circuitous route in his baseball career. After playing at The Master’s College in Southern California, where his claim to fame was 31 stolen bases in 39 attempts, Leighton welcomed the chance to see the world. He has played in Australia, South Africa, and now in Germany, where he’s an infielder for the Solingen Alligators of the German Baseball-Bundesliga. I couldn’t find any stats links that would work, but I can tell you that in the 2014 European Cup, Leighton went 7-for-20 with five walks and seven runs scored, including a 4-for-4 day in an upset of Nettuno. Suffice to say he’s having a good time.

As planned, Kyle Schwarber was optioned back to Triple-A Iowa by the Chicago Cubs Sunday night. But how difficult must it be to send Schwarber down after a six-game debut stretch that saw him hit .364 with a home run and six RBI? The theory is the Cubs want Schwarber, who started his pro career in Boise just a year ago, to get some seasoning behind the plate and perhaps in the outfield before he becomes a fixture on their 25-man roster. Meanwhile, former Hawk Kris Bryant notched the first multi-homer game of his big league career last night, knocking two out as the Cubs beat the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw, 4-2.

A couple other notes: Idaho teams went 3-3-2 in boys play and 2-5-1 on the girls side yesterday during the first day of play in soccer’s Far West Regionals. Action will heat up, literally, as the week progresses at the Simplot Sports Complex. And congratulations to former Boise State linebacker Carl Keever, who was named the new head coach at Payette High. It’s been over 30 years now since Keever patrolled the then-green turf of Bronco Stadium wearing his No. 55. The Boise High grad played his first year of college ball at Oregon State before transferring home.

This Day In Sports…June 23, 2000, 15 years ago today:

After 19 seasons, 424 victories, and an NAIA Division II national championship, Marty Holly announces his retirement as head basketball coach at Albertson College. Holly would remain as athletic director at the Caldwell school, a post he holds to this day. Longtime assistant Mark Owen, a former player for Holly, would succeed him as men’s hoops coach of the Coyotes.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)