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NEWS ALERT ... Chargers ready to bolt town

Team president Dean Spanos ready to convince other NFL owners that team must depart San Diego for Los Angeles.

Coach Pete’s return is nowhere near as anticipated as Oregon’s visit to Boise State


Saw a television station article the other day that claimed Boise State’s season-opening game against Washington is the most-anticipated football contest to ever be played in Boise.

Then I fell out of my computer chair and out the third-floor window and slammed my head on the concrete.

OK, so the fall didn’t happen — but that story would be just as accurate as anyone who writes that Friday’s game with the Huskies is the biggest in the city’s history. (see stellar game preview here —

The return of Washington coach Chris Petersen — the coach for Boise State’s best-ever seasons — to the Blue Turf is certainly an intriguing story line. And yes, the Broncos typically don’t attract Pac-12 teams to visit due to their small football stadium so this beats another UC Davis or Miami (Ohio) contest.

But the buzz has been kind of mellow compared to the truly most anticipated home game in Boise State history — the 2009 opener against Oregon.

I moved to Boise that summer and that was all I heard about every day as I tried to figure out why the temperatures were always in the 90s and 100s. Boise State fans were passionate and going crazy about the game and Oregon was breaking in a new head coach named Chip Kelly who was promising the Ducks would be scoring points at high-octane levels.

Oregon also was the first-ever ranked team to visit Boise State and the fans were giddy about that tidbit – as they saw it as something that increased the Broncos’ credibility.

Plus, Boise State had won at Oregon the previous season and the Ducks were still fuming about it. Running back LeGarrette Blount was quoted as saying Oregon owed the Broncos an “ass whuppin.”

Tension was everywhere as the start of the game approached. I was impressed as I saw signs that this non-sports town I moved to might actually have some life at times.

As for the return of “Coach Pete” and his unranked Huskies, the buzz has increased over the past week but pales in comparison to the Oregon game.

People who were mad at Petersen for leaving were able to move on a little easier once Bryan Harsin guided the Broncos to a 12-win season in 2014, including a Fiesta Bowl victory over Arizona. People who are thankful for Petersen’s eight seasons as coach and impressive contributions will get a chance to applaud him before the game or yell something at him as he leaves the field afterward.

The last time these teams met, Petersen’s Broncos were destroyed 38-6 at Washington in 2013. These Huskies aren’t as good and that also has something to do with the level of anticipation as you don’t hear Boise State fans talking about payback.

If the game turns out to be a classic, it might then be remembered years down the road for something more than Coach Pete’s return.

You know, if it should turn out to be … like Oregon versus Boise State in 2009.

Kelly’s fast-pace offense was slowed to a snail in terms of production — six first downs, 152 total yards — as the Broncos posted a 19-8 victory. Yes, Chip Kelly’s team scored EIGHT whole points.

Oregon’s biggest power display came after the game when Blount delivered a right cross to the jaw of mouthy Boise State defender Byron Hout during the postgame handshake.

Hey, maybe that’s what this Washington-Boise State contest needs. Perhaps a player or administrator will cold-cock Petersen before the game. That will get tensions moving in the right direction.

Regardless, if you’re one of those people trying to hype this game as the biggest or most-anticipated home game in Boise State history, just stop it.


I wrote about a mule rider and it was much more fun than dealing with NFL player egos

Sarah Stephens won the amateur all-around title for mule riding with Lizzy.

Sarah Stephens won the amateur all-around title for mule riding with Lizzy.

Read more…

Philip Rivers signs extension, leaving impression he’s OK with playing in L.A.


Philip Rivers is apparently fine with the possibility of being quarterback of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The veteran signal caller inked a four-year contract extension with the organization on Saturday night as speculation continues that the club is entering its final season in San Diego.

Rivers wasn’t all that thrilled with the idea of moving to Smogville several months ago but dollar signs have been known to change a player’s mind on numerous fronts. And landing a contract reportedly worth more than $83 million – with $65 million of it guaranteed – sounds like a good reason to embrace the idea of playing in Los Angeles.

Besides, nobody says Rivers has to move there. He can commute from his home in 4S Ranch, located in the northern part of San Diego County.

Rivers is 33 years ago as he enters the 2015 season so it is likely his last big-money deal. A player has to cash in while he can and a poor campaign this season – or one in which he suffered a devastating injury – could have cost Rivers tens of millions of dollars.

And the Chargers badly need Rivers on board when they make their move. Arriving in Los Angeles with an established veteran who has 10 years of starting experience surely beats showing up with an unproven rookie or a journeyman behind center.

The Chargers will also be fighting for headlines once they move north so it helps immensely on the public relations front.

Of course, San Diegans aren’t so thrilled with the prospects of this being the last season of the Chargers in Qualcomm Stadium.

That’s no fault of Rivers, who has 252 career touchdown passes and will break the franchise mark set by Hall of Famer Dan Fouts (254) early this season.

Rivers passed for 4,286 yards and 31 touchdowns last season so he’s certainly still at the top of his game. With this extension, the club is gambling that he will still be a top-flight quarterback through 2019.

The only unknown is this: How will Rivers like playing in L.A?

Sydney Seau scores a touchdown with solid speech about legendary Hall of Fame father


Sydney Seau tried hard not to get emotional but that was just not an attainable goal.

Not in Canton, Ohio on a memorable Saturday night. Not when it came to presenting her late father for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The 22-year-old daughter of NFL great Junior Seau was allowed to speak at the induction ceremonies after originally being informed she wouldn’t be allowed to do so. Public pressure helped change that decision.

Sydney Seau undoubtedly had to agree not to bring up the fact that her father’s suicide was likely due to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease that has robbed many players of a quality life after football.

A minute of silence was held for Junior Seau but shhhhhh – let’s not talk about how the San Diego Chargers’ legend died at the age of 43 in 2012.

To me, the saddest part of the night is that Seau – one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history – wasn’t around to enjoy it. He gave his life to football and he deserved to be standing at the podium giving one of his knockout speeches.

I covered him for six seasons at a time when he was at the top of his game and his determination was unmatched. Whether the Chargers were going to their lone Super Bowl or suffering through a 1-15 campaign with dog-meat talent, he was giving his all even in practices.

I’ve seen it written several times over the past few years that Seau never had a concussion. I know that isn’t true.

You know how NFL teams currently fudge on their injury reports? Just think was it was like in the 1990s when there wasn’t as much scrutiny.

I vividly recall one week during the time I was covering Seau that he was invisible all week. Everything to do with Seau was hush-hush and nobody saw him during the media availability sessions, which was a real oddity since Seau was usually eager to get his television time.

Seau played on Sunday and everybody moved on. But I suspected at the time that he had a concussion – which had yet to develop into a big deal in the football world – and the Chargers were doing all they could to keep it quiet.

Of course, NFL teams lie all the time. Remember all the fibbing the Chargers did per their player injuries leading up to playing the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game in Jan. 2008?

The club opened up LaDainian Tomlinson for nationwide criticism by fudging about the seriousness of his knee injury. Team president Dean Spanos had no problem lying to my face over the fact that Philip Rivers had a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury and had undergone knee surgery earlier in the week. Norv Turner also looked into my eyes and denied that kicker Nate Kaeding had a broken bone in his leg.

So yeah, the last people you want to believe about anything are the Chargers. Soon to be known as the Los Angeles Chargers.

The NFL office is just as bad. And with the Seau family having a pending lawsuit against the league, you could see why there was reluctance to allow Sydney Seau to speak.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame cited a policy that was enacted several years back for the original decision. But both the Hall and the NFL eventually got it right by giving Sydney Seau more than enough time to speak about her father – both in the video on him and then on stage after his bust was unveiled.

Think of all the pressure on young Sydney as she was speaking in front of thousands of strangers about her late father. Then realize how eloquently she painted a picture of all things Junior – father, football player, community icon – and there’s nothing to do but tip your cap.

Pretty sure Junior was looking down – and was just as proud of his daughter as she is of him.

Top 10 for July — the real reasons why Tom Brady destroyed his personal cell phone


If the #DeflateGate controversy wasn’t already weird enough, we learned Tuesday that Tom Brady does a very odd thing when he realizes there might be troublesome information in his cell phone.

Brady has one of his personal assistants destroy the phone.

I got a new cell phone recently and Sprint said nothing to me about destroying my old phone. Perhaps Brady – the quarterback of the New England Patriots – is with Verizon and has the Egocentric Destruction Customer clause in his plan.

There certainly must have been some good info to hide for Brady to revert to such tactics when he is fully aware the NFL had requested access to his text messages. Why else would someone destroy the phone under those circumstances?

The NFL revealed Brady’s cell-phone antics on the same day the league announced that commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in the silly #DeflateGate situation.

According to the NFL, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages on the phone over a four-month span. That sounds like a lot of messages to me. Certainly must have been a lot of chatter over the “weight of balls.”

Maybe there were awkward texts about the “texture of the balls,” — that phrase that sounded oh-so-odd when New England coach Bill Belichick used it in the late January spin-control press conference.

Either way, Brady exchanged 80 texts per day — on average — and it is reasonable to expect there were exchanges that had to do with the deflating of the footballs.

But a famous guy like Tom Brady is certainly hoping to prevent other activities that may hurt his public image from becoming commonly known.

So here we go … the top 10 reasons why Tom Brady has his cell phone destroyed instead of turning it over to the NFL:

10. Been hacking into the New York Jets emails and had all their defensive game plans saved.

9. All those pictures of NFL footballs in various stages of deflation look just a bit suspicious.

8. Has pictures of a large Confederate Flag draped on his bedroom ceiling.

7. Was “sexting” with the wives of 12 different teammates.

6. Several photos of his dart board — all with Peyton Manning’s picture on them.

5. Took private locker room pictures of Rob Gronkowski dancing naked.

4. He owned the lone known photos of Belichick laughing and smiling.

3. Those provocative pictures of wife Gisele Bundchen are supposed to only be seen by him.

2. Turns out Brett Favre wasn’t the only famous quarterback who sent penis pictures to Jenn Sterger (

1. There were indeed shocking pictures of deflated balls on the phone — his own.

Vacation by Tweets — Did I bring torrential rain for my Vacation In Drought Land?


So I took a vacation to Drought Land and amazing amounts of rain fell from the sky.

Well, I did joke about taking a wheelbarrow full of water past security at the Boise airport so I’m guessing that the Weather Gods somehow learned of my zany request.

Regardless, I wasn’t expecting that a vacation home to San Diego would become memorable for crazy rainy weather. On one July day, it poured so hard that it set the record for most rain in the MONTH of July in San Diego history.

Then the record was broken the following day as it rained even harder and longer. And I recognized all the thunder and lightning as I seemingly brought it with me from seeing it for five straight nights in Boise.

Oh yeah, that thunder and lightning somehow followed me back to Boise too. I like being magical but this is a bit ridiculous.

Anyway, you surely recall the drill from past years. Vacation by tweets is back for another run and you can catch all the action of #VacationInDroughtLand below.




–Vacation to #DroughtLand begins tomorrow … my biggest concern is whether there is enough water left for me to take a shower.


#VacationToDroughtLand about to commence. Hope TSA doesn’t mind me checking in a wheelbarrow full of water.

#ThatProudMoment when other passengers gawk at Coronado Bridge & I’m staring down at cemetery where father is buried #VacationInDroughtLand

–No sound on for All-Star HR Derby … That means no Berman Buffoonery … Life is good. #VacationInDroughtLand


–Always fun to visit the cemetery and see my father’s tombstone. #VacationInDroughtLand

–OK, guess the tombstone is just coming in upsides down on Twitter. It is fine in my laptop & came in fine on Facebook. #UpsideDownUpsideDown

–Was feeling pretty young on my vacation. That ended when I saw Joe Morgan with a cane. #VacationInDroughtLand

–Pretty sure several All-Stars born in the 1990s just made fun of a lot of us. #RotaryPhone #CassetteTape #GoToBankToGetMoney #VCR

–Nothing like the cool breeze of a SoCal summer night. #SanDiego is known as paradise for a reason.


–Freeway traffic, ugh. Feel like I competed in NASCAR race & none of the other drivers had Dale Earnhardt Jr’s brain. #VacationInDroughtLand


–Great time at my sister’s house last two days. Eight-year-old niece didn’t want me to leave. Smart kid. Ha! #VacationInDroughtLand


–At CreamOfTheCrop elite hoops tourney in #GardenGrove. Cousin’s son is a prospect. #VacationInDroughtLand

–Look! Pay phones! Spotted in Orange County. The MLB All-Stars born in the 1990s don’t understand them either.

–Spoke to diehard #Cardinals fan today in Orange County. She was EXTREMELY BITTER about Albert Pujols. Told her he was just a few miles away.


–The #Padres have seats that cost $94. Outside of the very rare playoff game, who would pay $94 to see #Padres play?

–Rain in #SanDiego, where people have forgotten what it looks like. Must be that wheelbarrow full I brought on plane. #VacationInDroughtLand

–What good is having free #Padres tickets if it is raining yaks & mooses? Maybe go downtown & just watch it pour? #VacationInDroughtLand

–My buddy just asked me if I “packed rain gear.” Of course not, I traveled to #DroughtLand. #SanDiegoTorrentialDownpour

–There was a better chance of me packing reindeer than “rain gear.” #VacationInDroughtLand

–Lunch at Mona Lisa, the best pizza place in #SanDiego. Always a high point.

–We will be having baseball tonight based on the view from my free seats at #PetcoPark.

— Cleaned up my dad’s brick like any good son would. #VacationInDroughtLand

— Congrats to the Colorado #Rockies for getting two runners to third base. But having them get there at the same time isn’t good.

— What I learned tonight: Relatives of Colorado #Rockies players don’t pay attention to the game. Except when relative bats. #Weak #NoManners

— Said relative — Brandon Barnes — Ks to end game. #Rockies #Padres … His daughter stepped on my foot at least a dozen times. #NoControl

— Replica of PetcoPark was Saturday giveaway. #VacationInDroughtLand


–Nephew & niece want me to join them in pool — & now it is pouring mules & donkeys for second straight day. #VacationInDroughtLand

–Pretty sure the drought is over in #SoCal. Just spent more than an hour battling monsoon-like rain. More water on freeway than at Sea World.

— Being on vacation & not seeing any TV, I don’t know what all these Donald Trump comments are about. But isn’t he a dorky doofus every week?

— Thought I went on vacation to #SanDiego … apparently I’m in #Seattle … more rain in one day than entire month of July in history of SD.


Yep, two more In-N-Out burgers. Each bite feels like heaven. Last ones until next CA vacation. #VacationInDroughtLand

–Highest-priced ticket for #Padres game tonight is $122. As a kid, you could have gone to all 81 games for a buck & had $41 left over. #Sad

–The TV woman telling us about the weather is named Dagmar Midcap … got to be a real name cuz you wouldn’t make that up as a stage name.

–Taking trolley to #PetcoPark & worst nightmare occurs: Dude twice as big as seat sits next to me. How come 90-pound women don’t go to games?

–The famous Western Metal Supply Co. Building beyond LF at #PetcoPark. #VacationInDroughtLand

–So the #Padres can’t show a replay when the opposing team homers? Is that because they themselves hit so few? #VacationInDroughtLand

–Matt Kemp homers for the #Padres … Multiple replay angles … Maybe they can show it another 42 times.

–Gerald Dempsey Posey III just got an RBI single for the #Giants. … Sounds a lot less imposing than “Buster.”

–Speaking of athletes nicknamed “Buster,” how about that time #Chargers selected brittle bust Craig “Buster” Davis in the first round?

–Remember when there was no LOUD MUSIC every minute at #Padres game? Only Danny Topaz playing the Lowrey Organ. Can we go back to organ days?

#Padres unbeaten (2-0) with me in the ballpark in 2015. Some rich person ought to bankroll me an August vacation.


–Why are the lights on at Qualcomm Stadium? Did the field flood again?

–My mom has a phone book in her house. MLB All-Stars born in 1990s: Why doesn’t she just Google to find the number?

–Look what I brought from #SanDiego — lots of rain. Sorry #Boise, blame me. Pours wherever I am last 2 1/2 weeks. #VacationInDroughtLand

Carli Lloyd becomes a household name after epic performance in World Cup title match


Something tells me there will be a lot of teenagers named Carli about 15 years from now.

And that’s fine after Carli Lloyd stenciled herself into United States athletics lore with an epic performance on the biggest stage in women’s soccer.

Lloyd scored three goals to lead the United States women’s national team to an easy 5-2 victory over Japan in Sunday’s championship match. The World Cup title is the first for the Americans since Brandi Chastain’s famous penalty-kick goal decided the 1999 finale.

Talk about a big-time performance in a pressure-packed situation in Vancouver. Lloyd scored all three of her goals in the first 16 minutes, including an epic blast from just inside the center line.

There are a couple NFL teams that could use a kicker like that.

The 32-year-old Lloyd scored six goals in the World Cup and strongly shut down the criticism that former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage recently tossed her way in an interview with the New York Times.

“Carli Lloyd was a challenge to coach,” Sundhage told the publication. “When she felt that we had faith in her, she could be one of the best players. But if she began to question that faith, she could be one of the worst.”

The comments made Lloyd sound like a mentally weak head case who might fold under the pressure.

Seems like that scouting report didn’t hold up in the World Cup — hmmm, maybe coach Sundhage was part of the problem.

Those critical comments will quickly be forgotten after Lloyd’s fabulous finale and now her star will be rising as one of the top female athletic role models.

It is always a win-win when young girls find more heroes to emulate in the male-dominated sports field. They see NFL and NBA stars in commercials all the time but have to look hard to find someone of their own gender.

Two of my nieces have become starstruck over U.S. standout Alex Morgan and were among the thousands of little girls mesmerized by the “Share a Coke with Alex Morgan” promotion. The winner of the grand prize earns a training session for themselves and a friend with Morgan.

Carli Lloyd became the hero of numerous young girls on Sunday. Something tells me she won’t be overwhelmed by this new gig.

Anyone who can score three goals in the World Cup final can easily juggle having three million new fans.

As well as having chance encounters down the line with young girls who say “I was named after you!”

Suspension of Chargers tight end Antonio Gates is a stunner due to his reputation


It certainly was a bit stunning to hear that San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 NFL season due to violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Gates is known for possessing a strong work ethic and had never previously come under suspicion in his career. During the time I covered the Chargers, he was known as being “clean” and nobody ever brought his name up as somebody who might use unsavory substances.

You may recall that early in Gates’ career, there was another San Diego player who was suspended for four games for a violation of the NFL policy. That was outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, who vociferously claimed that he was innocent and even threatened to sue the stimulant company.

Funny, Merriman didn’t follow through on his threat and his productivity declined in alarming fashion. And there also were people in the organization who weren’t buying his story.

So now we have to wonder about Gates: Is this a one-time mistake or has he been getting an edge during the course of his All-Pro career? Or could he now be going that route because it is harder to prepare for an NFL season when you are 35 years old?

The four-game suspension will cost Gates close to $1.5 million so it certainly would qualify as a costly mistake.

Remember, Gates has never been suspected of doing anything illegal during his previous 12 NFL seasons. Then again, players have been known to lie or use spin control when they get caught.

Before we go further, let’s look at Gates’ statement:

“In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails. I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL.

“In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them. As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines.

“I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions.

“I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me.”

Part of me wants to give Gates the benefit the doubt. Yet the skeptical part remembers all the times that players, coaches and other people in the Chargers organization lied. Including right to my face — hey Norv Turner, remember all those times?

But Gates was always straight up with me. He was a go-to guy per the locker room quote mill and he always was cordial and had insightful things to say. In addition to being a tremendous athlete, Gates is highly intelligent.

The former Kent State basketball star once returned my call in the offseason to talk, well, college basketball.

I can recall how gruesome his injured foot looked when he showed it to me in the locker room the week of the AFC Championship Game in Jan. 2008. And he was sooo disappointed that he was at less than half speed in the frigid conditions in Foxborough as he felt his inability to separate from Tedy Bruschi on what normally would have been a sure touchdown might have cost the Chargers a Super Bowl berth.

So he’s accountable. Very accountable.

And that’s what makes me pause here — it is possible that Gates accidentally landed on the banned substance list without knowingly ingesting something illegal.

But then I read that statement and I see the player with 99 career receiving touchdowns is going overboard per angling for the benefit of the doubt.

That always raises a red flag when the athlete goes that route — and isn’t in front of the camera fielding questions — as the NFL excels at spin control.

At this moment, there is no way to really know whether or not Gates made a huge mistake or knowingly took a banned substance.

But the shock that a player and person of his caliber drew a four-game suspension remains.

The USA women’s soccer team never lacks for punch with incorrigible Hope Solo in goal


The United States women’s soccer team is back on the pitch Monday night and is hoping it will have enough punch to defeat Colombia and move one step closer to reaching the World Cup final on July 5.

Oh yeah, Hope Solo is on the squad. Clearly, the Americans definitely have enough PUNCH.

Solo might be a star goalkeeper but she is also a controversial figure after a domestic assault incident with two relatives last summer. The details in the police report make her sound like the female Floyd Mayweather and let’s just say that is no compliment.

There’s something about repeatedly smashing your 17-year-old nephew’s head into the concrete floor that doesn’t sit right. Obviously, it was a bad draw to land a strong soccer player as an aunt.

Solo tried to paint herself as the victim on a national television morning show but ESPN’s investigative team unearthed details of the way she acted in jail, and that marked the end of any sympathy points. A male athlete who acted that unsavory would be scorched in the media.

Hmmm, maybe Solo was suffering from roid rage. Any media outlets investigating that angle?

At least we know the USA women will win the postgame boxing match.

The story was close to flying under the radar for much of 2015 — just as the U.S. soccer federation was hoping — until ESPN timed its report for the beginning of the World Cup.

That put the lack of action against Solo and the lackluster investigation into the spotlight. Little hard to sweep it under the rug now despite coach Jill Ellis acting like it is something that happened decades ago.

Ellis, of course, needs Solo on the squad as she otherwise has no chance at coaching the Americans to a World Cup title. Apparently, Hope Solo is the only woman in this entire country who knows how to play goalie.

And now Ellis doesn’t want to deal with the situation and the players get stuck in the middle. They are sick of being asked questions about Solo but the goalie hasn’t faced the media in two weeks.

This isn’t going away ladies. Just because some of you wear dresses in your free time doesn’t make it acceptable for one of your teammates — a woman — to beat the tar out of two people.

Remember how everyone ripped the NFL for not penalizing Ray Rice severely enough before finally getting it right? Women’s soccer has gone the opposite route.

The organization figured it could do nothing because people don’t pay attention to the sport most of the time. They were gambling that it eventually would go away. The out of sight, out of mind phenomenon.

Unfortunately for them, the women’s World Cup is one of the few times we do care about soccer and that put the lack of punishment into the spotlight.

Too bad there isn’t a video of Solo pounding her nephew’s head into the ground floating around the Internet. That would change things real quick.

Solo apparently isn’t done with spin control. She recently had People Magazine over to her house and the publication printed a story over the weekend with Solo once again playing the victim.

“It’s been painful,” she said to the publication. “I almost lost my career. It’s been traumatic and embarrassing.”

Well, she should be embarrassed. Her own actions put herself in this situation and she deserves all the derisive comments people make on social-media sites.

Look, the women’s national team has had a number of solid role models over the years, ranging from the great Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy to current member Alex Morgan. Young girls look up to these women because they seldom see women professional athletes on television.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t any bad eggs mixed it. Look no further than Solo, who might not be Tonya Harding bad but she’s up there when we talk about unsavory female athletes.

And if the Americans need Solo’s “punch” to win, that’s pretty shameful. Perhaps it would be fitting if Solo makes a rare mistake and the United States loses on Monday.

I’m sure not flying solo when it comes to that opinion.

Boise State loses athletic director Coyle to Syracuse but does it really qualify as a loss?


Boise State will spend the summer searching for a new athletic director.

Syracuse University announced Friday night that it has decided on Broncos’ athletic director Mark Coyle to be the person who cleans up the big mess the Orange athletic department has become.

“I recognize that Syracuse University student-athletes, coaches, athletic staff and fans are among the best in the country,” Coyle said in Syracuse’s press release. “I am eager to work beside them and look forward to becoming a part of Orange Nation.”

Nice jump in pay for Coyle, who has been working very hard at putting Boise in his rear-view mirror. He recently was a finalist for the Pittsburgh athletic director position and then hotly pursued the Syracuse gig.

Coyle gets to inherit the messy situation involving basketball coach Jim Boeheim, who has a tarnished reputation after having 108 victories vacated due to academic and drug-testing violations dating back to 2001. The football program also vacated 11 wins due to its own infractions.

Good luck with this Syracuse as nobody really knows whether or not Coyle can manage such complicated high-pressure situations. Actually, all Coyle really did at Boise State was keep things from declining.

He had the easiest coaching search in recent college football memory when Chris Petersen left for Washington. Hometown boy Bryan Harsin — a former Boise State player and assistant coach — wanted to return home after one season as Arkansas State’s coach and all Coyle had to do was make sure he didn’t mess up the hire.

Basketball coach Leon Rice was already in place and Coyle arrived in town during the 2011-12 season just as Rice was in position to get things going. The two recent NCAA tournament berths are a credit to what Rice built, not to anything Coyle has done.

A big downside for Syracuse is that Coyle packed no presence in Boise. People don’t know him, people never see him, and people don’t have an emotional pull with him like they did with former athletic director Gene Bleymaier.

He is going to have to be much more visible in Syracuse, where they follow the men’s basketball program like it’s an NBA team. That means standing up in front of the cameras regularly and being accountable.

Coyle begins his new duties on July 6. Boise State marked Coyle’s first time running an athletic department and I expect school president Bob Kustra to hire another first-time athletic director.

That means a hire that comes cheaper and is easier for the university prez to control.

I don’t think I will be proven wrong with that assertion.


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