Around The Blue Turf 9-8-11


Older rearly seen interview with Nicj Patti

Dr. Phillips’ Nick Patti basked in Boise State’s win in Atlanta

Every time Boise State‘s Kellen Moore carved a slice out of Georgia’s defense with a completion, another undersized passer raised up out of his seat in the sold-out Georgia Dome to cheer.

One night after quarterbacking Dr. Phillips to a season-opening win over Apopka, Nick Patti was in Atlanta on Saturday with his mom and dad, watching Boise boost its national profile again.

Moore, a 6-foot lefty, completed 28 of 34 attempts in the Broncos’ 35-21 victory in Atlanta, and each dart he threw was more reassurance to Patti that he that he can do no better than follow the path Moore and successful Boise passers before him have blazed in of all places, Idaho.

Patti, who stands 5-10 but has a big arm and extraordinary athleticism, announced his commitment to Boise State in May.

“It was especially good for my mom to see a game and get a feel for it and it was exciting to see Boise State come to this side of the country and get it done,” Patti said. “It was a really good showing for them on a national stage.

“I was impressed, but it didn’t surprise me one bit. Boise has all the ingredients to be successful.”

None greater than Moore, a pinpoint passer and Heisman Trophy candidate.

“Kellen is the real deal and he’s an even better guy,” Patti said. “I hope I can follow that as well as I possibly can.

“We’ve developed a pretty good relationship and I know he’s a guy who never wants to stop proving himself. That’s the kind of mentality Boise State takes as a team.”,0,678324.column

Quiet exit: Gene Bleymaier closes career as Boise State athletic director

The Gene Bleymaier era at Boise State ended in near silence Wednesday.

No congratulatory statements. No name splashed on the side of a building. Just a small staff send-off, like so many outgoing employees in other professional settings.

Bleymaier, fired by president Bob Kustra last month, served as athletic director for more than 29 years. He’ll receive his $266,115 per year salary through the end of his contract in June 2013. He isn’t sure what’s next for him professionally.

“I’m going to catch my breath and sit down and let the dust settle and spend more time with my wife and go from there,” he said.

Bleymaier leaves at a time when Boise State football is a national phenomenon — with a Sports Illustrated cover this week, a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback and a No. 4 national ranking.

But the school also is under an NCAA cloud. The NCAA is expected to announce any day whether it will hit Boise State with a “lack of institutional control” finding, and three prominent football players were held out of last week’s opener because of eligibility concerns.

Kustra cited the need for stronger NCAA compliance when announcing the decision to remove Bleymaier.

Bleymaier said he doesn’t know of anything he could have done to change the outcome.

“I certainly didn’t want my career here at Boise State to end like this,” he said. “… Sure, it bothers me. I’m human and I care about this place and I had wanted to finish my career here.”

He won’t disappear completely.

Bleymaier and wife Danell, who raised their four children in Boise, will remain fans.

“We’re Broncos for life,” Bleymaier said.



Bleymaier decided that he wanted to get more than just a new football field for the $600,000 it was going to cost him in 1986 to replace the Bronco Stadium AstroTurf. He decided to install a blue field — and that’s likely to be his most lasting mark on the Broncos program.

“I’m good with that,” he said. “Absolutely.”

The day the crew rolled out the new field “was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been,” he said.

The colored-turf concept has become popular in recent years. Eastern Washington installed a red field last year and won the Football Championship Subdivision national title.

Bleymaier’s reaction to the red?

“I thought it was ugly,” he said.


Bleymaier hired seven football coaches. Only one posted a losing record — Houston Nutt, who was 5-6. Most notably, Nutt (1997), Dirk Koetter (1998-2000), Dan Hawkins (2001-05) and Chris Petersen (2006-11) have given the Broncos the highest winning percentage in college football since 1997. The Broncos have taken 10 conference titles in the past 12 years, won two Fiesta Bowls and finished in the Top 20 seven times.

“There’s a number of reasons (for the success) and it starts with the community support,” Bleymaier said. “… We have been blessed with extraordinary coaches who have done a phenomenal job of identifying talent. How can Boise State beat Georgia? Well, it’s because our coaches are great coaches, but in order to be great coaches they have to be excellent at evaluating talent in high schools and junior colleges. … I think our record attests to the fact that nobody has done it better than our coaches over the last 15 years.”

Bleymaier’s job, beyond the hiring, was to keep those coaches happy. Hawkins could have left sooner than he did and Petersen has rebuffed overtures from other schools.

“Because of the donors we’ve been able to continually build and improve the program and fortunately that’s what Pete has wanted to see — ‘Hey, let’s just keep improving,’ ” Bleymaier said. “That’s what we’ve been all about the last 30 years. We’ve never had the most. We’ve never had enough. We’ve never had what other bigger schools have had. But we’ve always tried to get better.”


Bleymaier and his staff have built or expanded nearly every athletic facility on campus, including expansion of Bronco Stadium in 1997, the Stueckle Sky Center addition in 2008, the Caven-Williams Sports Complex in 2006, the Arguinchona Basketball Complex in 2011, the Appleton Tennis Complex and the Boas Tennis and Soccer Center. Construction is expected to begin this fall on Dona Larsen Park and early next year on a new football complex.


Bleymaier has reached agreements to bring 16 NCAA championship events to Boise in seven different sports. He also founded the Humanitarian Bowl, which has been played at Bronco Stadium since 1997.

The men’s basketball tournament made its first appearance in Boise in 1983. That was arranged by former athletic director Lyle Smith because the Broncos were opening a new arena, now Taco Bell Arena.

But Bleymaier had to fight to get the NCAA Tournament to return in 1989. The tournament has staged games in Boise six more times since.

Bleymaier remembers providing the NCAA with documents showing what the travel would be like to Boise for the schools that typically played in the West Regional and dispelling the myth that Boise didn’t have enough hotel rooms.

“I had to do a lot of lobbying around the country,” he said. “… We just had to educate them on our community. Outside of Idaho, Boise was not well known.”


Bleymaier added four women’s sports — golf, soccer, softball and swimming and diving — without dropping any men’s sports. Boise State now has slightly more female athletes than male and is in compliance with Title IX, he said.

Thirty years ago, the ratio was more like 60-40 male, he said.

“That took time and that took commitment and that took a plan, and we had all of those,” Bleymaier said. “I’m very pleased that we were able to add four women’s sports and not eliminate any of our men’s sports. We, as a university, chose to address gender equity by increasing opportunities for women, not by reducing opportunities for men.”


Boise State was in the Big Sky Conference when Bleymaier arrived. He moved the Broncos to the Big West (1996), Western Athletic (2001) and Mountain West (2011) conferences.

“Those were exciting opportunities for us,” he said, “and I think we benefited significantly from those moves and took advantage of those opportunities to get where we are today — which is on the cover of Sports Illustrated.”

Massey, Jr: Prescription for UGA football woes

This is a call to arms to the University of Georgia student body. The football team needs six blockers and a few linebackers. Stop by the Butts-Mehre Building and apply for the jobs. You have the chance to make a difference in the Georgia football program.

In Saturday’s game with Boise State, UGA head coach Mark Richt and company ran slap into a team that plays football as it should be played. It’s time to get back to smash-mouth football by doing the job on the field. Georgia must start playing never-quit football.


However, the student body must do its part by jacking up the team with a pep rally on Wednesday night and another on Friday each week. It’s time to see the student body arriving early for games, dressed nice in red and black and cheering from start to finish. It’s time to get back to the traditions of parading through the streets, fraternities outdoing each other with yard decorations, running the freshman shirttail parade and giving everyone a “Go Dawgs” greeting every day.


I’ve lived in the middle of Penn State country for more than 40 years, and I don’t like giving excuses for our poor showing the past few seasons.


If team discipline is the problem, I — as well as a number of other lettermen — are qualified as retired military or CEOs to handle those issues.


James H. Massey, Jr.

Camp Hill, Pa.