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The ever-sprouting homegrown Bronco coaching tree

The ever-sprouting homegrown Bronco coaching tree

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on June 19, 2012 at 7:27 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 5 at 4:43 PM

Tuesday, June 19, 2012.

As we bide time until Boise State football coverage kicks in seriously about five weeks from now, we pick up this recent discussion at Bronco  Somebody started marveling at the number of former Bronco players currently coaching in the college ranks, and the list got rather lengthy.  Eleven active college assistants played for Boise State during the team’s current Golden Era that started in 1999.  Two guys who were seniors during that first year of the run are at the top of the staff ladder: Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin and Texas A&M co-defensive coordinator Marcel Yates.  Both, of course, spent most of the new century on the Bronco staff under Dan Hawkins and Chris Petersen.

Three other former Broncos from the current era are Boise State assistant coaches: tight ends coach Scott Huff, defensive line coach Andy Avalos, and defensive graduate assistant Andrew Browning.  From there, you have Julius Brown, who just left BSU to become cornerbacks coach at Troy; Jeff Copp, coaching safeties at UC Davis; Wes Nurse, cornerbacks coach at Davis; Klayton Adams, tight ends coach at San Jose State; Mike Sanford Jr., running backs coach at Stanford, and Bush Hamdan, offensive assistant at Florida.  If you hit the way-back Bronco roster machine you naturally find Boise State defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, along with Nevada defensive coordinator Mike Bradeson, Oregon State offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf, and Eastern Michigan linebackers coach Randy Stewart.  Did I miss anyone still active?

The Idaho Statesman has culled some information from a public records request, finding that “Boise State's general counsel conducted ‘correspondence and discussions with the Mountain West’ about remaining in the league.”  BSU athletic director Mark Coyle had said “no” at the Big East meetings when asked if Boise State had discussions with the Mountain West about staying, ruffling some MW feathers.  The clock continues to tick on the Broncos’ need to officially turn in their Mountain West exit papers.

Houston is serious about its move to the Big East in 2013.  The Cougars are scrapping Robertson Stadium, their current 32,000-seat on-campus football facility, for a new stadium with a capacity of 40,000—expandable to 50,000.  Construction will begin following this season on the Robertson site.  Houston is also upgrading its basketball arena, with a combined cost of $160 million for the two projects.  Cougar football games averaged 31,731 fans last season.

The College of Idaho has learned that one of its biggest all-time sports stars, R.C. Owens, passed away Sunday in the Bay Area at the age of 78.  The NAIA Hall of Famer played football and basketball, ran track, and was even a member of the cheerleading team for the Coyotes from 1952-56.  Owens led the football team to four-straight Northwest Conference championships before going on to the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers.  The 1953 Yotes went unbeaten before losing to Sam Houston State in the Refrigerator Bowl.  Owens played two seasons of basketball and teamed with Elgin Baylor to help C of I to an undefeated conference season in 1954-55.  Incredibly, Owens recorded a double-double in every collegiate hoops game he played.

The Statesman’s Brian Murphy reports that Capital High quarterback Makena Simis has committed to Montana, figuring the Grizzlies will rebound from the wrenching off-the-field problems they face right now.  Simis, the son of Eagles head coach Todd Simis, told the Statesman, "I just loved Missoula.  It's kind of like a small Boise.  It feels like it's somewhat like home.”  Simis has been attending Boise State games near and far since he was a wee lad.  He’s grown into a 6-2, 195-pound dual-threat quarterback who’s attracted a lot of interest from FCS schools.

The Boise Hawks have scored first in each of their first four games.  Problem is, Salem-Keizer scored too much at the end in the first three of those.  But the fourth time was a charm last night, as the Hawks nabbed their first win of the season, 4-3 over the Volcanoes in 11 innings.  Boise scored two unearned runs in the 11th to win it—those things happen in the Northwest League.  The offensive highlight was the Hawks’ first three-hit game of the season, courtesy of catcher Justin Marra, promoted from extended spring training last Friday.  Marra was a member of the Canadian Junior National Team before joining the Cubs organization as a 15th-round draft pick last year.  The Hawks wrap up the Salem-Keizer series tonight and return home tomorrow for Memorial Stadium’s Opening Night.

One former Boise Hawk who’s making an unexpected impact this year is New York Yankees reliever Clay Rapada.  The 31-year-old southpaw’s future looked murky after he muddled through last season with a 6.06 ERA despite a 2-0 record for Baltimore.  Rapada landed with the Yankees, his fifth team in six major league seasons, and has turned in a 3.26 ERA in 29 appearances, including two scoreless, hitless outings Saturday and Sunday in New York wins at Washington.  He’s 1-0 this season, and—you’ve gotta like this—undefeated in his big league career (6-0).  Rapada made his pro debut with Boise 10 years ago, posting a 1.50 ERA in 12 appearances.

This Day In Sports…June 19, 2001:

The new “Chicago Cubs Era” begins for the Boise Hawks, as they open their 15th season by celebrating a new affiliation in a 14-6 win at Salem-Keizer.  The starting and winning pitcher was 19-year-old Dontrelle Willis, who would be in the majors two years later, winning the National League Rookie of the Year award and getting a World Series ring with the Cinderella Florida Marlins.  Also that night, former Albertson College and Boise High star Branden Florence made his pro debut, going 3-for-4 with a home run for Salem-Keizer.

(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.)