Seattle has become one of the most expensive places in the country to live, with the average cost of a house having just surpassed $700,000. Let’s just say that Coach Pete has kept pace with the cost of living. Washington coach Chris Petersen has agreed to a contract extension through 2023 that will make him the highest-paid coach in the Pac-12. The new five-year deal with pay him just under $4.9 million annually. For comparison’s sake, when Petersen arrived at UW from Boise State in December, 2013, he signed a five-year contract for $18 million. He earned about $2.2 million in his final season with the Broncos.
And to think Huskies fans had second thoughts when Coach Pete went 8-6 and 7-6 in his first two seasons. He just needed to get his guys in and the culture of the program squared away. Washington, of course, won the Pac-12 and made the College Football Playoff last season, finishing 12-2. Should the Huskies win the Pac-12 championship game again, Petersen would earn a $100,000 bonus. There’d be another $450,000 for making the CFP title game, and a $50,000 cherry on top for winning it. His career record at Boise State was 92-12. Three years removed from the Broncos, it’s now 119-26.
Now that spring football is over, Boise State focuses on season ticket sales. The crowd at the Blue & Orange Game Saturday was just 5,112. Somebody asked me why. I attribute that to two parts brutal weather and one part Air Force/Cactus Bowl hangover. And Boise State didn’t put as much stock in it this year in terms of companion events. No question, however, that this is going to be a telling year at the gate. The Broncos averaged 34,273 fans per game last season, up from 33,612 in 2016. You have two earlier kickoff times this season, with the likelihood of another being added. But you don’t have home games this fall the likes of the Washington State and BYU contests of last year, though.
The Dereck Boles trial took hold of the local radar yesterday. The former Boise State defensive lineman, booted off the team last winter after biting off a piece of safety Chanceller James’ ear at a players’ party, is facing his mayhem charges in the Ada County Courthouse. Boles is claiming self-defense. What makes this so incredibly uncomfortable, beyond the ugly details of the incident, is the parade of Broncos being called to the stand. These are not unknown names. There are former players like Ben Weaver, Sam McCaskill, Joe Martarano and Chaz Anderson.
But it’s current players like Brett Rypien, Jake Roh, and A.J. Richardson that make one wonder about 2017, with Rypien and Roh testifying for the prosecution, and Richardson for the defense. Not to trivialize the situation, but isn’t concern about team chemistry natural right now? Player-run practices this summer are all about developing rapport and communication, especially between quarterbacks and receivers. Maybe I’m just seeing smoke where there’s no fire, but what becomes of the brotherhood that’s been the hallmark of this program? It’s gotta be more difficult, doesn’t it? Awkward, anyway.
Boise State coach Leon Rice was on KTIK yesterday to talk about the offseason, the departure of Steve Fisher at San Diego State, his experience at Mark Few’s Gonzaga staff reunion at the Final Four, and…Chandler Hutchison. “We’re going to see some jumps (next season),” said Rice of his true freshmen guards and his post players. With that, he added Hutchison’s name. “You saw it in the Utah game,” Rice said. “He’s working his way into the 30’s. He’s going to have some big, big games for us.” Does that sound like a coach who expects to lose his best player? Rice’s staff played a part in Hutchison’s internship of sorts, knowing it’s the best thing for him. In fact, why don’t more underclassmen go this route now that the rules have changed?
How many times do you see this? New Mexico has raided rival New Mexico State, hiring away men’s basketball coach Paul Weir to replace the fired Craig Neal. Would Boise State ever hire Don Verlin? Or would Idaho bring in Leon Rice? On the surface with Weir, you see a coach who led NMSU to a 28-6 record, a WAC championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance. But the jury will be out on Weir from the get-go. He did it with Marvin Menzies’ players just after Menzies departed for UNLV. Lobos fans remember Neal being promoted to replace Steve Alford—and going 27-7 with a Mountain West title and a trip to the Big Dance in his first season. Weir doesn’t have a head start now like Neal did.
The Idaho Steelheads and Colorado Eagles have some Kelly Cup Playoffs history behind them as they look forward to the beginning of the first-round series Friday night. This is the the third time in four seasons the two clubs are meeting in the opening round of the postseason—the Steelheads have won two of those series. The history was made three years ago when Game 6 between the Steelies and Eagles ended up as the longest game in ECHL history. It stretched into four overtimes before the Steelheads prevailed 3-2. The game covered more than 134 minutes of ice time, the equivalent of about 2 1/3 games, and it lasted five hours and 42 minutes. This season’s series was basically even between Colorado and Idaho, with the Steelheads winning six of 11 meetings.
Less than two weeks into the season, there are 25 former Boise Hawks in the majors. That, I believe, is a record. The only alum on the roster of the Hawks’ parent club, the Colorado Rockies, is pitcher Chris Rusin, who was called up Sunday. Rusin is a product of Boise’s Chicago Cubs era, though. Seven former Hawks are on the current Cubs roster, including budding superstars Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber and the oldest active ex-Hawk of them all, righthander John Lackey. Bryant is one of two players who has an MVP trophy—the other is Toronto’s Josh Donaldson.
This Day In Sports…April 12, 2015:
Jordan Spieth, just 21 years old, does what Tiger Woods did when he was Spieth’s age. He finishes 18-under-par at the Masters, tying Woods’ tournament record, to win by four strokes over Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose. Not only that, Spieth became ther first golfer since Raymond Floyd in 1976 to lead the Masters wire-to-wire, helped by a record 28 birdies. After the victory, his first in a major, Spieth was universally hailed as golf’s next great hope.
(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.)