Wednesday, June 26, 2013.
Around here, we usually declare Media Days as the official start to football season. This year, Mountain West Media Days are July 22-23. But things are hitting full-force in Provo, as BYU Football Media Day is today. As an independent, the Cougars can hold theirs anytime they want to, and any way they want to. Unlike conference events, when each team brings its head coach and a player or two, BYU will bring out gobs of players and a number of assistants. And there’ll be a lot of interest in the assistants on the offensive side. Not a single member of the Cougars’ offensive staff was around as an assistant last year. Robert Anae, a one-time Boise State staffer, returns from Arizona as offensive coordinator with a goal of taking BYU up-tempo. He could have the drill down by the time the Broncos visit October 25.
According to John Perles, president of the proposed Christmas Bowl in Los Angeles, Mountain West athletic directors were to meet yesterday to discuss involvement in the new game (and the conference’s bowl situation in general). Well, Mountain West officials told the Deseret News that the MW school presidents are currently not interested in pursuing the relationship. Part of the reason is likely the fact that the Pac-12, the Christmas Bowl’s other dream partner, has not so much as requested more information on the game. If the Pac-12 was interested in sending its No. 7 team to the L.A. Coliseum beginning in 2014, the Mountain West would have to jump on it. As has been mentioned, the opportunities to take on power conference teams are drying up. The L.A. Bowl has also had been in contact with BYU, which says it’s keeping its options open.
I talked yesterday about Boise State’s latest Varsity B newsletter and the passing of former Bronco basketball star Bill Otey. Wanted to mention that the latest issue also contains a photo that’s a keeper from the Gridiron Social the night before the Blue & Orange Game. It features a number of Boise State running back alums and includes Brock Forsey, Doug Martin, Cedric Minter and Ian Johnson, the four best to ever play the position for the Broncos. Forsey is one of college football’s all-time leading scorers, Martin already has the best NFL career of any Boise State running back, Minter has been the Broncos’ career rushing leader for 32 years, and Johnson’s sophomore year with its Fiesta Bowl finish is, of course, the stuff of legend.
When you’re in a place that gets only 11 inches of precipitation a year, you’re not going to get a lot of rainouts at Boise Hawks games. Last night the Hawks logged their first one in almost nine years, as a rare late June rainstorm pre-empted their first-ever game against the Hillsboro Hops. Boise and Hillsboro will play a doubleheader tonight—two seven-inning games—starting at 6 p.m. Until last Saturday night in Spokane, the Hawks hadn’t seen a twin bill anywhere since 2007. Now they’re set to play their second in a span of five days.
Hanley Ramirez is Stephen Fife’s BFF. Well if not forever, at least for a day. The Borah High grad was still in the game in the bottom of the sixth for the L.A. Dodgers last night in a 2-2 duel with San Francisco. That’s when Ramirez came up and smacked a two-run homer, giving the Dodgers the lead—and ultimately giving Fife his second major league victory as the Dodgers went on to beat the Giants, 6-5. The 26-year-old righthander went 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on just four hits (two of them were solo homers by Buster Posey and Brandon Belt). Fife’s season record improved to 2-2, while his ERA is a more-than-acceptable 3.41.
One of the hottest water cooler topics right now is Kentucky forward Kyle Wiltjer, who is said to be leaving the Wildcats program for parts unknown. Wiltjer, the reigning SEC Sixth Man of the Year, averaged 10.2 points per game as a sophomore and bears a national championship ring from his freshman year. Despite his 6-10 frame, he can step outside with ease, canning 90 three-pointers in his two years at UK. Wiltjer graduated from Jesuit High School in Portland, where he was a teammate of Boise State guard Jeff Elorriaga. And Bronco coach Leon Rice recruited Wiltjer when Rice was Mark Few’s top assistant at Gonzaga. Hence the water cooler talk, as far-fetched as it might be. Sources told ESPN.com that Portland, Texas, Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State and—yes—Gonzaga are all interested.
As shocking as it was in the Magic Valley when Steve Gosar suddenly resigned as College of Southern Idaho basketball coach Monday, the Golden Eagles found his replacement 24 hours later. Newly-hired assistant Jeremy Cox was promoted yesterday to the post at one of the premier junior college programs in the country. CSI had announced the addition of Cox to Gosar’s staff just last Wednesday, so maybe there’s a tangled web there. But Cox seems qualified—he, like Gosar, has a national JC Coach of the Year award to his credit from a national championship season at Arkansas-Fort Smith in 2006. Cox also has 11 years of Division I bench experience among his 22 seasons in the profession, including recent stints at Texas Tech, Nebraska, South Florida, Kentucky and Texas A&M.
Idaho Stampede coach Michael Peck has to like the concept. The Memphis Grizzlies are reportedly set to promote assistant Dave Joerger to head coach, replacing Lionel Hollins. Joerger has spent the past six seasons on the Grizzlies’ staff, but before that he was head coach of the Dakota Wizards and Sioux Falls Skyforce and won three CBA championships and a D-League title—all by the age of 33. Joerger spent many a winter night in Boise. Sounds like a good blueprint for Peck, who came to the Stampede from Findlay Prep in the Las Vegas area via the Portland Trail Blazers organization.
This Day In Sports…June 26, 1990:
Jennifer Capriati beats Helen Kelesi 6-3, 6-1 in the first round to become the youngest winner of a match in Wimbledon history. The 14-year-old Capriati would make it to the fourth round before falling to Steffi Graf. Capriati had reached the semifinals of the French Open earlier that month, losing to eventual champion Monica Seles. Injuries and off-court problems would essentially end Capriati’s pro career at the age of 28.
(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.)