The new top Bronco

The burst of applause Tuesday when Marlene Tromp was named as Boise State’s seventh president in a State Board of Education motion was impressive. Insiders say leaders of every facet of campus life supported her, and we have to assume that includes the athletic department. Dr. Tromp walks into a unique situation: a growing university with a national brand, thanks in no small part to events like the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. She understands that and will use that to her advantage. After the upset of Oklahoma, “athletics as the front porch to the university” became the operative phrase. Dr. Tromp called it “front door” Tuesday when talking to reporters. Same diff. However, what she fosters academically will be just as important in positioning Boise State athletics for the future. That’s the key building block.

ALEXANDER MATTISON: SCULPTED BUT ANONYMOUS

Alexander Mattison can’t get away from the viral photo taken of him next to Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf of Ole Miss while weight-training for the NFL Draft. Then again, Mattison seldom gets identified in the picture. It’s in this week’s draft preview in Sports Illustrated, with no mention of Mattison. The former Boise State star is chiseled, but he looks small next to the 6-3, 228-pound Metcalf and his six-pack abs. The added muscle may have slowed Mattison at the NFL Combine, where he ran a 4.67-second 40-yard dash before improving to 4.52 at the Broncos’ Pro Day. However, Metcalf ran a 4.33 at the Combine. No muscle-bound problems with him.

WHEN ALMA MATERS BECKON

A story by Sports Illustrated’s Laken Litman wonders if you can go home again. Some can. The piece is headlined, “Gauging the Success Rate of College Football Head Coaches Who Are Also Alumni.” And there, of course, is Boise State’s Bryan Harsin. Litman writes, “Harsin, who played quarterback for the Broncos from 1995 to ’99, has done an admirable job maintaining the program that Chris Petersen built. Harsin has led the Broncos to a 52–15 record with bowl appearances each season (even though the 2018 First Responder Bowl was called due to inclement weather). The Broncos were 92-12 in eight years under Petersen, who is now entering his sixth year at Washington, but it’s probably not fair to hold Harsin to that standard.” I concur.

Here’s a sampling of other coaches at their alma maters who were mentioned in Litman’s feature. Troy Calhoun of Air Force: “Calhoun is reportedly growing unpopular with fans, and he refuses to explain how he plans to fix the program.” Jeff Tedford of Fresno State: “The former longtime Cal coach and record-setting Bulldogs quarterback has turned his alma mater around in record time.” Nick Rolovich of Hawaii: “Rolovich has reaped dividends after some growing pains.” Jonathan Smith of Oregon State (former Boise State quarterbacks coach): “His familiarity with the program and university has given the fan base hope in a Pac-12 that’s up for grabs.” Kalani Sitake of BYU: “Last year’s impressive victories indicate the program may be moving in the right direction.”

ONE MORE TIME FOR KC AND TULSA

The Tulsa Oilers circled the wagons Tuesday night, so we won’t know until later tonight who the Idaho Steelheads will face in the ECHL Mountain Division finals beginning Friday. Tulsa beat Kansas City 4-2 behind two goals from Alex Dostie, forcing a Game 7 this evening on the Oilers’ home ice. The Mavericks will try to extend their Cinderella run. KC barely finished over .500 during the regular season, going 36-30-6. In fact, if you call overtime and shootout losses as plain ol’ losses, Kansas City was exactly .500—36 wins and 36 defeats. Again, Game 1 of the divisional finals will be Friday night—either in Boise against the Mavericks or in Tulsa versus the Oilers.

PAINFUL WEEK FOR WYOMING

It’s a wrenching time at the University of Wyoming right now. Defensive tackle Naphtaki Moimoi of Hayward, CA, a recruit who signed with the Cowboys in December, is presumed dead after being swept out to sea while boogie-boarding with friends last Thursday at Half Moon Bay. A rescue mission for Moimoi turned up nothing, and it’s now classified as a water recovery operation. Moimoi was a 6-4, 265-pounder who made 72 tackles with 14 sacks during his high school career.

SUNSHINE AND SOFTBALL

The Boise State and Idaho State women’s softball teams tried to get in games at Pocatello the past two weeks, but bad weather stopped them. No such problem Tuesday with a doubleheader on a sunwashed day at Dona Larsen Park. ISU generally kept the Broncos’ bats in check, with the exception of Bradie Fillmore’s 11th home run of the year, and Boise State won 5-3. The nightcap was more decisive, with the Broncos’ Gianna Mancha pitching a five-inning two-hitter in an 8-0 rout, Boise State’s 30th victory of the season. The Broncos did hit one more homer in that one, and I’ll be darned if it wasn’t No. 12 for Fillmore, a two-run shot in the bottom of the first.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by ZAMZOWS…Nobody Knows Like Zamzows!

April 24, 2004, 15 years ago today: The NFL Draft creates a pro football quarterback domino effect of sorts. Eli Manning of Ole Miss was taken as the No. 1 overall pick by San Diego even though he had stated he wouldn’t play for the Chargers. But the Bolts already had a deal in place with the New York Giants, who would draft Philip Rivers of North Carolina State and trade him and a couple of draft picks to San Diego for Manning. The Chargers already had a quarterback, Drew Brees, and he would continue to start during Rivers’ first two seasons. Brees, of course, finally departed San Diego in 2006 and began his legendary run with the New Orleans Saints.

(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.)