With the Boise skyline as a backdrop, Bob Kustra said he was standing in “The House That Curt Built.” Bob Kustra stood in the Steuckle Sky Center yesterday with the Boise skyline as a backdrop and said he was standing in “The House That Curt Built.” With that, the Boise State president introduced Curt Apsey as the university’s new athletic director. The Stueckle is the crown jewel of the facilities Apsey was involved in developing during his 16 years as the Broncos’ senior associate athletic director. For his part, Apsey said, “We’re not done yet. We’re great, but I think we can be greater.” Having been gone for only 8½ months, he’ll be able to hit the floor running when he takes over on August 1. It was awkward leaving Carroll College after such a short time, but Apsey said the Montana institution understood. “I’m leaving because I’m coming home,” he said.
Apsey has seen plenty of peaks during his time at Boise State. But there have been valleys. When Apsey agreed to serve as interim athletic director in August of 2011, NCAA sanctions were hanging over Boise State’s head. Kustra said it was important at that time to bring an AD in from “another Division I-A program” to demonstrate to the NCAA that BSU was serious about a clean move forward. Apsey, frankly, would have been seen as one of Gene Bleymaier’s lieutenants in the months following Bleymaier’s firing. Then came the hiring of Mark Coyle, and Apsey proved himself as a team player in helping reinforce the program’s infrastructure.
“I don’t have this grand plan for Boise State athletics,” said Apsey, who professed to be surprised when he got a call from Kustra last Friday night when Coyle had been announced as the new AD at Syracuse. “This is so fresh and new.” But he did say his biggest project will be the implementation of cost-of-attendance funds for student-athletes. “It’s all about recruiting,” said Apsey of Boise State’s quick decision to offer COA in all sports. “We recruit against everyone in the country now.” Kustra agreed that COA will be Apsey’s greatest challenge out of the gate. “That’s going to put Curt and I in some very busy territory in the coming months and years.”
It was almost an aside after Apsey’s introductory press conference, but Kustra mentioned Boise State exploring the return of baseball, perhaps as soon as 2017 (probably later, though.) The Bronco baseball program was dropped after the 1980 season due to budget cuts. Lyle Smith was the athletic director then, and it was particularly painful for him, as he had remained Boise State’s baseball coach until 1973 after stepping down from football. There hasn’t been a public whisper of the baseball program’s return since—until yesterday’s revelation. I was always afraid if something like that ever happened, wrestling would be on thin ice. But Kustra said the Broncos are fine on their Title IX count and wouldn’t need to cut a men’s sport to accommodate baseball.
Boise State and Washington have some similarities at wide receiver. The unexpectedly short-handed Broncos filled a need last month with Austin Cottrell, a 6-3, 200-pounder from Scottsdale Community College who’s eligible to play this year. The Huskies have picked up JC wideout Nik Little, listed at 6-5, 210 pounds, from Golden West College in Huntington Beach, CA. With speedster John Ross III out for the season due to a knee injury, UW had just four scholarship receivers left on the roster. Little will be able to suit up this season. It starts, of course, on the blue turf September 4. Meanwhile, it’s all over for Washington quarterback Cyler Miles, who was already taking this season off for personal reasons. Now Miles is “retiring from football” because of what he calls a chronic hip injury.
Boise State forward James Webb III is off to the inaugural Nike Basketball Academy, beginning Friday in Santa Monica. Webb’s invitation to the camp is a feather in his cap, and he’ll be all the wiser for it. Among the instructors expected to participate are LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving (on crutches?) and Anthony Davis. The 6-9 Webb was the Mountain West Newcomer of the Year as a sophomore last season after averaging 11.2 points and eight rebounds per game while shooting better than 40 percent from three-point range.
The Boise Hawks opened an eight-game road trip by meeting their old selves last night in Eugene, and the Hawks beat them 4-2. The Chicago Cubs moved their Northwest League affiliation from the Hawks to the Emeralds after last season and took manager Gary Van Tol with them. Boise got a quality start from Logan Sawyer, who scattered seven hits and allowed two runs over 6 2/3 innings to earn his first victory. The winning runs came on a two-run single in the third inning by Kevin Padlo. Sawyer is newly-arrived from long-season Class A Asheville, where he had an ERA of 5.79 this season despite a 5-2 record.
Six former Hawks are on the Eugene roster, and two of them faced their old club at PK Park last night. Adbert Alzolay, who pitched in (ahem) one game for Boise last year, got the start and allowed two hits and a run over the first two innings. Alzolay gave way to ex-Hawk Greyfer Eregua, who yielded the other three runs. Eregua posted a bloated 6.23 ERA last season in 13 appearances.
Other local notes: at the Youth Soccer Far West Regionals, the U-17 Boise Nationals remain unscathed in boys play, as do the U-18 Coeur d’Alene Sting and U-14 FC Nova on the girls’ side. With serious triple-digit weather days set to begin Friday, the tournament that involves 248 teams and about 4,500 youth soccer players is circling the wagons with mandatory water breaks starting today—officials will be stopping play once each half in every game. And Eagle’s Josh Gliege has advanced to the U.S. Junior Amateur Golf Championship next month after winning a qualifier yesterday at Ridgecrest in Nampa. Gliege capped the 36-hole tournament with an eight-under 64 to win by two shots.
This Day In Sports…June 24, 2010, five years ago today:
The longest professional tennis match in history concludes at Wimbledon after 11 hours and five minutes, spanning three days. American John Isner and French qualifier Nicolas Mahut had already battled almost three hours when they went to the fifth set. Then the deciding set went eight hours and 11 minutes, with Isner finally winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68. Yes, it was 70-68. The next day, Isner would be eliminated in the second round in 74 minutes.
(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.)