It’s been well-chronicled that Boise State had a unique year among FBS schools. It’s been well-chronicled that Boise State is the only FBS program to win conference championships in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball in the past year. It was noted again Friday night when Syracuse announced it was hiring BSU’s Mark Coyle as its new athletic director. Two of the three Bronco coaches, Leon Rice and Gordy Presnell, were already in place when Coyle came aboard as AD in December, 2011. Bryan Harsin was not, and that’s what will stand as Coyle’s one big hire—and a successful one at that. It must have been tempting for Coyle to go outside the box in replacing Chris Petersen a year and a half ago, but he listened to Harsin’s vision for Boise State football and was appropriately bowled over by it.
The other positive Coyle leaves on the football front is solid non-conference scheduling at a time when it’s harder for Group of 5 schools to land games with Power 5 teams, not to mention home-and-home arrangements. Coyle was at the helm as the Broncos announced their home and away dates with Virginia, Oklahoma State, Michigan State and Florida State. He also balanced the out-of-conference slate with good Group of 5 opponents.
Boise State has become accustomed to people staying around for a long time. Maybe it’s the Mark Johnson/Dee Sarton/Carolyn Holly/Rick Lantz syndrome. Petersen was here for eight years as a head coach, 13 total. Heck, Sam Sandmire coached gymnastics for 20 years before she retired in 2007. Greg Patton came aboard as men’s tennis coach in 1992. Coyle’s predecessor, Gene Bleymaier, was the Broncos’ athletic director for 29 years. Coyle has broken the mold a bit by moving on after just 3½ years. His successor will be only the fifth AD in Boise State’s history as a four-year school. BSU’s original athletic director of the era, of course, was Lyle Smith, who led the department for the first 13 years. And Smith had been the Boise Junior College football coach for most of the 21 years prior to that.
Boise State’s fifth football commitment for the 2016 recruiting class is its first from the state of Idaho. Friday night Twin Falls High offensive lineman Kole Bailey tweeted his verbal (“Dreamt of this moment since I was a kid”), and he couldn’t have been more excited. “Boise State just felt like home, and I knew no other program would be able to duplicate it,” Bailey told Scout.com. He has a nice head start on FBS size, listed at 6-5, 285 pounds. The Twin Falls Times-News says Bailey is only the second FBS recruit out of the Magic Valley in the past 15 years, joining Minico’s Brett Thompson, who signed with Idaho in 2013.
The sixth Bronco commit followed Saturday night, and it came from Texas, where Boise State has mined quite a few running backs the past eight years. Will Robert Mahone carve a spot in the record book along with the likes of Jay Ajayi and D.J. Harper? Mahone, a 6-0, 205-pounder from Prosper, TX, has given his verbal to the Broncos. He’s renowned for his versatility, priding himself on his route-running and pass-catching ability. Mahone also had FBS offers from Colorado State, SMU, Houston, USTA and Louisiana-Lafayette.
The Statesman reported over the weekend that Jack Fields, identified as the Boise State player who injured wide receiver Rick Smith in a locker room fight in February, will not be charged in the incident. Smith’s family apparently changed its mind about pursuing legal action in the case. Coach Bryan Harsin said on Idaho SportsTalk last month that Smith has remained a part of the team throughout and will be ready for fall camp. I can’t imagine the Broncos moving forward seamlessly this season without some sort of sincere reconciliation having taken place between Fields and Smith.
How’s this for a Power 5 opponent? Fresno State has announced a date with Alabama in 2017. That’s the season Boise State next faces the Bulldogs—the Broncos can only hope they get the ‘Dogs the week after that meet-up with the Crimson Tide. For Fresno State, the trip to Tuscaloosa is crucial to the bottom line; it’s a $1.4 million payday. Group of 5 teams are less reticent now to schedule upper-echelon power conference teams since Boise State got into the Fiesta Bowl last year with an Opening Night loss to Ole Miss (and another to Mountain West foe Air Force).
It’s rubber match night for the Boise Hawks and Tri-City Dust Devils as the season’s first homestand draws to a close tonight at Memorial Stadium. A couple of bad innings did the Hawks in last night in a 10-1 loss. Their first two pitchers, Colin Welmon and Alec Kenilvort, allowed a combined 10 runs and 14 hits. The only Boise run came courtesy of a fourth-inning double by Hamlet Marte that brought in Yonathan Daza. Marte and Daza have been the Hawks’ most effective hitters so far, batting .364 and .313, respectively. Former Rocky Mountain High star Mason Smith did not play for the Dust Devils last night after going 0-for-10 in the first three games of the series. Smith did record his first Northwest League RBI Saturday night, though, on a sacrifice fly in Tri-City’s 8-2 win.
Josh Harrison gets some space occasionally in the Scott Slant column as one of the most accomplished former Boise Hawks currently in the majors. Harrison, the versatile Pittsburgh infielder, was on the south end of history Saturday night, though. Washington’s Max Scherzer came within one strike of a perfect game, letting it go when he hit the Pirates’ Jose Tabata with two outs in the ninth. Harrison was the next batter, and he flew out to give Scherzer’s the majors’ second no-hitter of the season.
This Day In Sports…June 22, 1990, 25 years ago today:
Atlanta replaces manager Russ Nixon with general manager Bobby Cox, and that begins a run in the Braves dugout that would last more than 20 years. Cox led Atlanta to division titles in 15 straight seasons from 1991-2005, including the World Series championship in 1995. He also managed the Braves from 1978-81 and the Toronto Blue Jays from 1982-85 and is fourth in major league history in managerial wins with 2,195. Cox is also baseball’s all-time leader in ejections with 158 (plus three more in the postseason).
(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.)