There are 13 schools in the Big Sky Conference in football this year. The one picked to finish 11th in the preseason coaches and media polls at Big Sky Media Days in Park City is UC Davis. What’s significant about that is its head coach. If I was a bettin’ man, I’d plunk down some bucks on the notion that coach Dan Hawkins’ Aggies will finish a lot higher than 11th. First, the former Boise State mentor loves chips-on-the-shoulder, and this is a sizeable chip. Second, Hawk is walking into a program that’s eminently easier to rebuild than the situation he faced at Colorado in 2006.
UC Davis has tradition, winning 22 conference championships in 23 years from 1971-93 in an era that produced not only Hawkins, but also future head coaches Mike Bellotti, Chris Petersen and Mike Moroski. Hawk, who went 53-11 and led Boise State to its first Top 25 and Top 10 rankings in his five seasons with the Broncos, wouldn’t have returned to his alma mater if he didn’t think he could get that Aggie magic back. He is already building his culture in Davis with team-bonding activities, fan events and his irrepressible philosophical musings. Idaho State, by the way, is picked to finish last by a sizeable margin. The Bengals could be higher, but not many are putting money on that.
An extension of Brett Rypien’s nomination to the Allstate Good Works Team is his selection to the watch list of the Wuerffel Trophy, known as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service.” The criteria for this one includes on-field performance, and that’s where Boise State’s junior quarterback will be under the microscope this year. The Broncos need Rypien to boost his completion percentage—it was a shade under 62 percent last season. He has a key guy waving the flag for him, though. “You can tell he’s getting a lot older and a lot wiser,” said star wide receiver Cedrick Wilson yesterday on Idaho SportsTalk. “He sees everything the defense is doing, and he’s trying to get us on the same page.”
Not surprisingly, Wilson has been named to the watch list of the Biletnikoff Award, presented annually to college football’s top receiver, regardless of position. Wilson built quite a resume in his first season at Boise State. “I was blessed to come to a great team with a great quarterback,” he said, continuing his Rypien accolades on IST. Wilson said he was proud of reaching his individual goals in 2016, 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns (he posted 1,129 yards and 11 TDs). This year he says he’d like to tie or beat the school record for touchdown receptions. The single-season mark is 16, set in 2011 by former Mountain View standout Tyler Shoemaker.
Some Washington State student groups are hoping the athletic department will be a centerpiece in a stand against sexual abuse. Three orgranizations recently sent a letter to president Kirk Schulz and athletic director Bill Moos asking the school to implement a policy that prevents “the recruitment of any athlete with a history of sexual violence.” Students with sexual abuse in their past are not barred from being enrolled in the general student population at WSU, but the school’s graduate and professional student association president Shane Reynolds said this kind of a policy is an effective place to begin because the university is reaching out to student-athletes. A spokesman said WSU athletics would not comment until Schulz, Moos and the school’s administration had reviewed and discussed the letter.
This slipped by most everybody—except the Statesman’s Rachel Roberts. U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador introduced a bill in Congress last Thursday that proposes the U.S. Postal Service rename its facility in Payette the “Harmon Killebrew Post Office Building.” There are lots of crazy things going on in Washington these days, but this isn’t one of them. Killebrew, the Payette native who died in 2011, was the leading righthanded home run hitter in American history for more than 40 years. But most importantly, the Hall of Famer was a beloved Idaho philanthropist. This bill should bypass D.C. gridlock and sail through.
Another day, another home run—or two—for the Boise Hawks. Half of the Hawks’ runs in their 10-3 rout of Tri-City last night at Memorial Stadium came courtesy of a three-run homer from J.B. Moss and a two-run shot from Daniel Jipping. It’s was Jipping’s ninth homer of the season, tops in the Northwest League. So who is this guy? Jipping’s a 21-year-old leftfielder out of Central Michigan who wasn’t taken until the 22nd round in last month’s MLB Draft. But the Colorado Rockies obviously saw some pop in the 6-2, 232-pounder’s bat. Jipping went 3-for-4, scored three runs and knocked in three as Boise won for the eighth time in the last 10 games.
Doings of note at College of Idaho—the Coyotes have hired a new head coach for men’s and women’s golf, Cecilia Garcia. She’s currently the assistant club pro at TimberStone. And the Yotes’ men’s lacrosse team has been moved from a club sport to varsity status, effective with the 2018 season. Lacrosse will become the 10th men’s varsity sport at C of I, and only the fourth small college varsity lacrosse program west of the Rockies.
This Day In Sports…July 19, 2009:
Stewart Cink wins one of the most storied British Opens in history. Cink, runnerup at the Albertson’s Boise Open in 1996, pulled even with 59-year-old Tom Watson on the 72nd and final hole after Watson had put together a stunning four rounds of golf—turning back the clock at Turnberry. Cink then broke the heart of Watson (and fans around the world) with a six-shot victory in the ensuing four-hole playoff.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)