When Dirk Koetter left Boise State for Arizona while I was disappointed that he wouldn’t be leading a Idaho team I wasn’t disgusted nor did I feel physically ill, it should be noted it was after all my former high school coach who brought Boise State completely on to my college football radar screen and back then I pulled more for his success then I was for Boise States. So when he took over at ASU I became a ASU fan. I remember his first bowl game in his first season with Suggs dominating performance. All I could see in his future was Rose bowls and I cannot help but tell you how upset I was when AZ let him go and how grateful I was to see him catch on in the NFL. Never once did I pull for anything but Coach Koetter success, as Boise State hooks were only ever so softly into me. Now I still pulled for the Bronco’s and watch every game I could and quickly there after Dan Hawkins Broncos took the team to an even higher level, it was under is tender I found myself constantly searching out whatever I could on the team, as well I started sending request to family back in Idaho to get me whatever Bronco gear they could and I sported almost daily. Though I would have hardly see myself as a Bronco fan first I certainly only put down the Bronco hats and shirts when attending a Michigan. Whether it be at work or play when I was in the hat wearing mode it was a Boise State hat I sported.
I should have had an early clue to what the future held for me and my every growing attachment to Boise State football by the complete outrage and disgust I had in Dan Hawkins when he left Boise State at the end of the 2005 season to coach Colorado. It wasn’t like I didn’t already hate Colorado, harking back to when I watch Steward throw a 70 yard hail Mary pass to beat my beloved Wolverines years earlier, but now I hated them like a Sparty fans hated the meatchickens. The desire to see Hawkins fail in the Big 12 was over whelming, news of each defeat came as good news and over the years as I watched it all come apart in Boulder I took personal pleasure in each trashing media report. When Hawkins was finally fired from Colorado it brought joy and warmth into my heart.
Today as I prepare to watch with the hopefulness that sometime after kick off of the Lions final pre-season game we might be blessed to witness another Kellen Moore to Titus Young touchdown pass. I dreamed it last night it was so surreal it woke me at 4 am in a cheer I kid you not. This only to be followed with Boise State coming to East Lansing to take on a team I have hated since I was 6 years old when my Grandfather who was a season ticket holder of the Green bay Packers would sit me on his knee and tell me just how evil and worthless Spartans were. The fact that this took place while watching Michigan vs. MSU basketball games made no difference to how I would spend my youthful years when it came to grid Iron games.
I cannot help but think this morning none of this would have been possible if Dan Hawkins had stayed, certainly sooner or later someone would have come calling for Coach Pete, whether it be as an OC or head coach. While Coach Hawkins set the hook in me, it was Chris Petersen who reeled me in and put me in the boat. Coach Pete has taken this program to levels one could have only dreamed of during Hawkins tenure, it should be said Dan Hawkins did his best to motivate Boise State to make needed improvements in the training facilities and certainly didn’t leave the cupboard bare when he left. As time has shown Coach Pete was the real deal and tomorrow night he sets out to prove it once again.
As well Coach Pete was there at ground zero in Boise when Hawkins left and I’m certain he felt the pain of Bronco Nation when Hawkins fled for what he believed were greener pasture in Boulder and I have to believe in some small way that experience plays a role in why he doesn’t take phone calls when the UCLA’s of the world come calling.
In leaving Boise State Dan Hawkins did more to advance Boise State and Bronco Nation then he could have ever hoped to achieve by staying and for that he no longer deserves our distain but just the opposite he deserves our thanks and forgiveness.