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7's Hero: Boise State coach Bryan Harsin surprises superfan on her 91st birthday

Coach Harsin heard the superfan was having health problems and surprised her at a Boise care facility on her special birthday.

BOISE, Idaho — In November of 2019, we introduced you to Bernice Thomson, a 90-year-old Boise State Football diehard fan, she's been going to the games for 50 years! 

“People will come up to her and say we saw your story on Channel 7! She’s recognized now everywhere we go,” said Brandie Thomson, Bernice’s daughter-in-law. 

Bernice told us she’s been getting a kick out of her sudden fame among Boise State fans. 

“It's kind of fun it really is because you don't realize how many people watch things like that,” Bernice said.

Before every Boise State home game, during the team’s Bronco Walk, Bernice is right there, front and center in a sea of fans, waiting for the team and coaches to come by for high fives. But Bernice is special, she also gets a pregame hug from head coach Bryan Harsin.

“There's mom and Bryan. They have just kind of grown a little bond, year after year,” Bernice’s son Scott Thomson said. “It's just something they both get such a kick out of.”

That pregame hug started a few years ago when Bryan Harsin spotted this sweet little old lady in blue and orange. It’s now a tradition and coach Harsin calls Bernice his good luck charm. 

“She's our biggest fan,” said Harsin. “Just the moments we've had at each home game, she’s definitely a rock star. Fans like that are something special.” 

MORE: 90-year-old Boise State fan rarely misses a game and has a special pregame tradition with coach Bryan Harsin

RELATED: 7’s Hero: Boise State basketball superfan inspires players and coaches

Bernice has been having some health problems and was recently in the hospital. Her family made plans to celebrate her 91st birthday at a care facility in Boise this past week. Little did she know she had a big surprise coming! 

“I said absolutely we'll be there,” Harsin said. “We’re here to celebrate her 91st birthday!”

Her family was overjoyed to hear Harsin was coming. 

“Oh my gosh she is gonna, I don't know, she may jump out of her seat! She may, she may,” Brandie and Scott said with big smiles. 

Bernice was about to get a big Bronco birthday surprise. Harsin walked into her room at Life Care Center Treasure Valley, and Bernice couldn’t believe her eyes. She was beaming with joy, and coach Harsin gave her a warm birthday hug. 

“I about fell over because I wasn't expecting anyone else to come,” Bernice happily exclaimed. “Thank you for coming!” 

Coach Harsin and Bernice’s family sang happy birthday to her and celebrated with cake. 

Bernice says her goal is to get well for the season, she doesn’t want to miss cheering for her favorite team. She has rarely missed a home game in almost 50 years! 

“You know what? It’s pretty neat that we get to play a sport that she's excited about, and our players appreciate her and seeing her every single game. This is just a little something that we can give back. We have a big season coming up and we need to make sure she's ready,” Harsin said with a grin.

He also brought her an official autographed team jersey, with the number 91 on it, in honor of her birthday. Bernice and Harsin talked a lot about the upcoming season. Harsin assured her the players are working hard and getting ready.

“If I don't get in-game shape, I won't get to go to the games, I'll have to stay home,” Bernice said. “I’m not going to stay home!”

We have good news to share! Bernice is back at home resting and recovering, and she’s looking forward to the first home game on the blue this fall. 


Are you a member of Bronco Nation and would like to send Bernice a 91st birthday card? She would love to get one from you. You can mail them to this address: 

Bernice Thomson 

PO Box 190948

Boise, ID 83719

Watch more '7's Hero'

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