Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How Fast is Tavoy Moore?

Z103 DJ Brad Collins, who is a Bengal enthusiast, recently was struck with an entertaining idea while watching the Idaho State at Northern Colorado football game; “Tavoy Moore looks fast, but just how fast is he?” Many armchair fans have become so desensitized by the speed of athletes that they think they could somehow be in the same realm as collegiate players. On Wednesday afternoon Collins experienced Division I speed first hand by racing head-to-head with Moore in the 40 yard dash. Last week Moore was named National Punt Returner of the Week and Kickoff Returner of the Week by the FCS as well as Big Sky Player of the Week for his efforts.

After hitting the weights hard and tiring himself out in the Jared Allen Strength and Conditioning Center Moore came down to Holt Arena where Brad Collins and the timing mechanism were set up for the 40 yard dash. Unfortunately, the timer was struggling a bit with the automatic start, but luckily Head Track and Field Coach Dave Nielsen, who is being honored with the Distinguished Service Award at Homecoming, was there to step in and set the timers off by hand which means that naturally due to human error and timing the speeds recorded for Tavoy are a fraction faster than listed.

Moore smoked Collins in the first race by 1.2 seconds leaving the Z103 DJ 12-15 yards behind when he crossed the finish line. Moore's 40 yard dash was clocked at 4.58 seconds while Collins rolled in at 5.78 seconds. It just isn't a fair fight pinning the average Bengal fan against the 5-7 junior transfer who was named National Punt Returner and Kickoff Returner for the FCS.

Collins was given a second shot at trying to beat Moore, but fell behind by 1.5 seconds in the second match up. Video footage of the competition will be available on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at the Idaho State main athletic webpage. The video will also be teamed up with the Get on Board videos that have been produced all season. For now, we will just entice you with photos of the race!

(Photo 1: No Brad in site at the 25 yard line)

(Photo 2: Moore at the 32, Brad just getting to the 22)

(Photo 3: Moore sooo fast the camera can't even catch him as he crosses the finish line, 12 more yards for Brad to cover before he gets to the end.)

To give fans a better idea of Moore's talent, he posts the second best punt return average with 34.44 in the nation. He posts the fourth best All-Purpose return average with 211.67 yards per game in the nation.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Unexpected Talents...Traveling with ISU Football

Idaho State football finished practice on Thursday, grabbed a hearty meal and headed out to begin its journey to Greeley, Colo. where the Bengals will play Northern Colorado on Saturday, Sept. 18 in ISU's first Big Sky contest of the season. The Bengals stopped in Rawlins, Wyoming for the night after a five or so hour long bus ride.

In the morning the team ate breakfast together. Defensive lineman Rustin Phillips finished his meal early and found a piano in the dining hall where he proceeded to play a collection of Top 40's hits for the team while they finished eating. Idaho State sports information was able to grab a quick video of Rustin playing Usher's "Love in This Club". A talented musician, Rustin can play the piano, the drums, the ukelele and the harmonica. He is also learning to play the guitar. Rustin taught himself how to play the songs he knows from listening to the radio.

After breakfast the football team took a four hour drive to Greeley, Colo. Once here they ate sub sandwiches for lunch then hit the books hard studying for their classes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Football Cleans Up at Extreme Home Makeover

The Idaho State football coaching staff and select players spent three hours Wednesday morning helping with clean up for the Extreme Makeover T.V. show that built a house for a family in need in downtown Pocatello.

Roughly twenty coaches and players tore down barricades and helped with heavy lifting during the clean-up process. Idaho State football players who did not have class or who could donate an hour or two of service between classes volunteered their time.

(Since the picture was so tiny in the story online, I've included it in the Bengal Blog!)

(Left to right: Andrew Benavides, Mike Rigell, Coach Steve Amrine, Coach Phil Earley, Head Coach John Zamberlin, Thomas Steiner, Coach Jon Clark, Chris Holmesley, Coach Nick Whitworth, Coach Drew Miller, Michael Colleran, Coach Kenyon Blue, Head Strength and Condition Coach Mark Campbell, Coach Junior Falevai)

-Katie Zigars, Asst. SID

Friday, August 20, 2010

Defense... DARK SIDE!

Idaho State's football team was asked to maintain its energy and focus during its second practice of its final day of two-a-days on Friday. The Bengal defense added fun as well when they began to chant "Defense... DARK SIDE!" at the start of every play during a period of practice. In case you missed it, here is a glimpse of the practice. Watch Keith McGowen disrupt Kyle Morris' intended pass for Tavoy Moore as the defense brings the noise!

...and just to be fair to the offense, they did break through and make some excellent plays as well. Watch Kelvin Krosch spring into the air to catch a pass from Morris as the offense upsets the Bengal D!

The Bengals worked hard, pushed their limits and made practice fun and enjoyable. If you want to see Idaho State in the flesh come out to the South Practice Field on Saturday, August 21 at 10 a.m. and watch the Bengals at their second scrimmage of the season.

--Katie Zigars, Asst. SID

PLAY BALL! Bengal Soccer at Wrigley Field

The Bengal women's soccer team was given a special excursion while on their first trip to start the 2010 season. The night before their first game at Marquette (Milwaukee, Wis.) on Friday, August 20, the team was able to catch a game... a baseball game! The soccer team visited the historic Wrigley Field to watch the Chicago Cubs play the San Diego Padres. The Bengals were ecstatic to attend the game and had a blast even if the Padres wrapped up the series with a four game sweep overcoming the Cubs 5-3. ISU will return to the windy city to play Loyola Chicago on Sunday, August 22 at 11 a.m. MT

Photo #1 (left to right): Freshman defender Liv Zabka, junior forward Taylor Powell and junior keeper Bailey Williams.

Photo #2 (left to right): Powell and Williams in their seats.

--Katie Zigars, Asst. SID
(Photos provided by Taylor Powell)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gutierrez Update

Matt Gutierrez is to be the newest reserve quarterback for the Bears. Gutierrez arrived at camp Tuesday evening, and his signing is expected to be announced Wednesday morning.

--Katie Zigars, Asst. SID

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bengals are on the Prowl

Former Idaho State quarterback Matt Gutierrez is on his way to training camp to visit with the Chicago Bears, sources say. He may be taking a vacation in the Windy City or perhaps a longer stay as a new backup quarterback. Nothing is official, but keep your eyes open and ears in check because we may hear more about the former Bengal in weeks to come.

--Katie Zigars, Asst. SID

Monday, August 16, 2010

Frank's Epilogue

Sigh, So this is it...this is really kind of bittersweet as I look back on 12+ years here at Idaho State. In case anyone has missed it, I am leaving my position here as Asst. A.D. for Media Relations to take a similar position with the University of New Mexico.

Honestly, it was an offer I couldn't pass up, as there are some benefits there that ISU just can't match, although I won't say that necessarily makes it a better job. What it does do is give me a new adventure. I will get to run the office there and try new things, much like I did here. I will work specifically with men's basketball and men's tennis, and assist a bit with football. It's less travel, more home games, and a bigger conference in the Mountain West. I still get to hit Salt Lake and Boise every year ... well, SLC this year, Provo after that, and Boise starting next year, and my two oldest daughters live in Boise, so that is a bonus.

I would be lying if I said I loved every minute of my 12+ years here, but certainly the frustrating things were few, small, and very far between. I have watched hundreds of student-athletes graduate and move on to great of my favorite stories is of Akilah Lacey, who played football here and is now a member of the Pocatello police force, protecting the citizens of a town who showered him with so much affection as a player. I've been greatly affected by things too. I will never forget being woken up by a phone call that freshman Jacori Rufus was killed in an accident while driving home over Spring Break, or some of the other close calls that thankfully turned out OK.

As far as student-athletes go, I've had to privilege to get up close and personal with so many tremendous competitors, from Jared Allen to Stacy Dragila to David Schroeder, and many, many others. Perhaps none is more special that AnnaMarie Hofstetter, who was not only maybe the best player in ISU's 12-year soccer history, but was a First Team Academic All-America pick as well, proving to be the very best of both student, and athlete.

As far as coaches, I've worked with great ones. From those that are gone such as Gordon Henderson, Larry Lewis, Doug Oliver, Jon Newlee, Mike Welch, and Ardie McInelly, to the current group of coaches, who are not just fantastic to work with, but are great people who care deeply about their players and this school. I just can't stress that enough to the fans...the coaches are desperate for success and spend most of their waking time working towards it.

It's funny, I've worked for five A.D.s in 12 years here, and all had their positives. I was hired by Irv Cross, and then worked with Howard Gauthier, Jim Senter, Paul Bubb, and finally Jeff Tingey. I've had great working relationships with all, but personal friendships with some, but I'll say this, as young on the job as Jeff is, what he has been doing in his short tenure here is nothing short of spectacular. He is learning how to navigate the roadblocks that show up at his door, and he is raising money, and hiring good coaches. The GPA is up, and the wins will follow...for a guy literally thrown into the fire (Jeff and I had many a conversation before he got named the interim a few years back), he has done some great things, and I'm absolutely positive this athletic department is in good hands with him running the show.

One of my favorite things about ISU has been the assistants I've worked with, from my first Reed Hollinshead, who got married and left the profession for the Idaho Housing Authority (he is still there too!), to in order, Wendy Broker (left here for Purdue), Derek Smolik (left and became the head SID at two Division II schools), Jason Erickson (Director of Information at the WAC) to my last assistant, Katie Zigars, I'm excited that I was a part of the beginnings of so many great media relations careers. Even our current graduate assistant Jamie Schroeder is great and will no doubt make like a former G.A. of the office Michelle Railsback-Smith, who is on staff at Boise State, and go to big places.

I've had 12 years worth of media folks, and some great ones. One of the early ones, Jones Schwartz, is now working at SNY in New York and hosting NY Mets games, and Kellis Robinett is covering Kansas State football and men's basketball. I've worked with great announcers from Russ Eisensteing to Jim Fox to Jerry Miller to Mark Liptak and Brad Bugger, and many others in between. I've greatly enjoyed the ISU media, and hope the Albuquerque media is just as gung-ho and talented.

I've also greatly enjoyed interacting with the fans. This blog in particular, which won an award two years ago, was done with the fans in mind. When I got to ISU, stats were not computerized, and the website was, wasn't really a website. Now, 12-years later, as my last little gift, you guys are getting one heck of a new site courtesy of the folks at Sidearm. We have livestats, live free audio (Russ Eisenstein gets a big assist on that one), live streaming (Mike Pritchett and KaLee Kopp get those big HUGE assists there), blogs, chats, video reports...I'm proud I was able to update ISU's internet presence like that. And what is great is the new person that follows me...they will do all that and more, and I welcome following ISU as a fan now and seeign what goes on.

But without a doubt, while I'll miss many things about ISU...the people, the athletes, the fans, even Holt Arena...I will miss the people of Pocatello. I raised three daughters here, and I can't imagine a better place to do it. I will miss our friends, my wife's school teachers who welcomed her with open arms, and just the general feeling that Pocatello people are just good regular folks.

There's probably many people I didn't mention that I should have (Jay McMillin comes to mind LOL) and I'm sorry about that...too many folks to thanks and remember.

So with that, I'm off to Albuquerque (Rio Rancho actually), and I am excited to live in a place with nine Panda Expresses, a couple of Olive Garden's, and one PF Changs. There are some former Bengals down there at the school, and with facebook, and, I can definitely keep up with how the teams are doing.

One last these student-athletes and coaches...they are working so hard to make you all proud. As an alum of ISU (grad. degree in 2006), I know I'm already proud of them, and proud to say, I will always be a Bengal! Let's take the Big Sky, and GET ON BOARD!

Frank Mercogliano

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Babies On Board

The Idaho State football coaching staff has had a lot to be thankful in the past three months as three different coaches each welcomed the birth of a child, most recently Coach Nick Whitworth (Running Backs) and his wife Erin on Thursday, August 12 to their son Colt, the couple's second child.

Three months ago Coach Brian Strandley (Defensive Coordinator/DL) and his wife Erica had their first child, daughter Brianna (named after her dad) and just a month later Coach Drew Miller (Wide Receivers) and his wife Diana also welcomed their first daughter. You can bet on seeing their kids sporting ISU gear during the Bengals home opener on Saturday, September 4 at 3:35 p.m. at Holt Arena.

--Katie Zigars, Asst. SID

Friday, August 13, 2010

Playing Overseas

Idaho State is continuing to make its presence overseas as another one of ISU's men's basketball players will be headed to play ball in Europe. Amorrow Morgan, who was ISU's leading scorer last season averaging 17 ppg, is leaving today to play for West-Brabant Giants of the Eredivisie, which is the top professional league in Holland. He will join most recent basketball players to hit the European continent, Matt Stucki who competed for Germany last season and David Schroeder who played for France. Talk of Rolando Little finding an overseas team to play for is a possibility, but nothing has been locked down yet.

--Katie Zigars, Asst. SID

Bouncing Back

Idaho State has several players bouncing back from injuries incurred in the 2009 season. Check out the story "Ward, Clayson Battle Way Back to Field" by Mark Liptak written for the Times News about two players who are just a few of many to have bounced back from their injuries: Bryant Ward and Braeden Clayson.

Another article along the same lines is Jay Heater's "ISU Player Comes Back From the Brink" about Andrew Benavides' recovery since his neck injury during ISU's game at Northern Arizona that doctors feared would leave Benavides paralyzed. However, this reselient player is back on the field today waiting to be cleared. He is currently helping the coaches, calling players and working with the players. This gives him the opportunity to fully understand and learn the offense and defensive sides inside and out for when he returns. If he clears a nerve test Benavides will be able to compete this year if he wants to, and boy does he want to! Or he will redshirt this season and play for the Bengals in 2011. Either way the Bengals will have an experienced and knowledgeable player helping them.

--Katie Zigars, Asst. SID

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Volleyball Makes a Splash with Team Photo

I would probably have to say that our volleyball athletes can be the silliest of all as far as their personalities. It is never a dull moment with those players. Today the team took their head shot photos for the website and media guides as well as their team photos. With a minor camera problem slowing down the process in the beginning the girls entertained themselves by playing pictionary on the white board in the photographic studio, throwing out random topics for drawing ideas. Some of my favorites were Breanne Van Every (featured in the action photo to the left) drawing cricket for the sports theme. She drew a picture of the insect cricket and a bat, Katie Grajewski was able to get everyone to guess "crabby" the emotion by drawing a boat and something that honestly resembled more of a jellyfish than a crab. Finally, assistant coach David Hyte unsuccessfully tryed to get players to guess Talledega Nights for the movie theme by drawing Ricky Bobby, but needless to say his skills were lacking.

Eventually the camera was fixed, but the pictionary game continued until all the photos were taken. Then the team traveled to the Rendezvous to take their team photo. In fact, the volleyball team is the first program to take their photo in front of the Rendezvous which turned out to be a pretty silly time. Just after we scoped out the best location for a photo and had all the players and coaches aligned on the new grass that has been put in, the sprinklers went off! Who knew sprinklers would be going off at noon. Some of our girls got pretty soaked which turned into a fit of hilarity. The players and coaches were moved to a different section of the grass and continued to take photos. Then the timers must have kicked in (or someone was playing a prank) as the sprinklers went off again! An even greater fit of laughter ensued but poor Karissa Legaux and Haylee Thompson-Brock were sitting right in front of the sprinklers and probably received the most damage. We decided with our luck we would move the players to concrete only and took their photo on the walkway in front of the Rendezvous Center. The photo came out very nicely and I can't wait to put them up on the website! Even if it was a more difficult task than usual, it made for an entertaining afternoon.

-Katie Zigars, Asst. SID

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hansen Competes for "Miss Mashed" Title

Idaho State forward Alex Hansen has been nominated to compete in the "Miss Mashed" college soccer player contest hosted by the To vote for Hansen, the Bengal star who "unleashes the furry" with her flip throw, go to the "Miss Mashed" site and leave a comment on her profile with "She gets my vote!".

The contest is from now until August 31 with the winner being named Miss Mashed September 2010 and will be featured in an in-depth Q&A in September.

Negative comments will not be counted. Even if you have a positive comment about one player, a negative comment about another will eliminate your vote. BENGAL FANS GET OUT AND VOTE!
--Assistant SID, Katie Zigars

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Get on Board!"

I'm sure you Bengal fans have been watching our fun video clips with student-athletes where they show off their talents to the extreme! First we had Russel Hill easily throw out a 45-yard pass through a whole about the size of a basketball hoop. Talk about accuracy! We also had Russ throw a 65-yard pass to a tight end sprinting down the Babe Caccia Field blindfolded, but the accuracy one was so amazing I had to go with that video.

Then we had Dave Harrington punt a ball into the men's scoreboard at the top of Holt Arena. He actually did that feat twice in a row because I wasn't quick enough to catch his face when he said "Get on Board" at the end. He gracefully accepted the task again and bombed it in the scoreboard. He was also the one who informed me that the video may have made your internet explorer page come up white for the last few weeks. I guess the code we use for it to play as soon as you clicked didn't sit well with Internet Explorer. For those of you who have missed the videos because of that issue or missed the previous videos because you were on vacation I will put up a site that will house all the videos we have done with the Bengals showing how they prepare for the season. We are going to try and make it a weekly thing throughout the year with all the sports, so keep checking back on Wednesday's to see our latest videos on the main page and the soon to be new link on the site that will show them all!

Next week's video will feature Brendon Garcia. I asked what he could do and he showed me two amazing executions that I frankly didn't know was something a kicker could do. You guys will definitely have to check these out. I haven't decided which one we will put up and I don't want to ruin the surprise, but a little hint can't hurt, right?! One video has to do with a lack of placeholder and the other with threading a needle.

The next sport we are going to start throwing in the mix is soccer. Highlighting senior Lauren Ryan, junior Alex Hansen and a newbie Liv Zabka to start. Geez those girls have got talent! It's truly amazing the quality of players we have at Idaho State, in every sport. They all have such unique gifts and are so fun to watch when they play the sport they love. Their is a passion and a fire for the game which is always fun to see. Shooting these videos is a nice way to share their abilities with the community that Bengal fans don't always get to see. I hope you guys are enjoying them!

--Assistant SID, Katie Zigars

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Miles High Indeed!

Courtesy of Brandon Cruz, former sports anchor at KIDK a few years back, comes this link, which he sent me on facebook. We all knew him as Miguel Antoine "Slim" Millien, but many folks now know him as "Bones" Millien with the Harlem Globetrotters.

Well, watch this link and the embedded video of Slim at Rucker Park in New York grabbing an alley-oop and dunking it reverse. The guy he dunks over? Terrell Owens...yes, that Terrell Owens. How sweet is's the video (the dunk occurs about 37 seconds in with some slo-mo and a quick sound bite from Slim at the end.

and here is the article on yahoo...

and oh yeah...TMZ!!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

(The previous post that was sitting here at the award winning Bengal Blog has been deleted by the author to comply with a request. Please enjoy the other portions of the post...they are fantastic and exciting...Frank)

Website Training Thursday/Site Progress Update
Katie and I will go through training on Thursday morning, which is going to be exciting because we have lots of questions to ask, but looking into Sidearm's back end system, man it looks impressive. we should be able to do plenty, including being able to have in progress scores now, which I didn't realize.

Currently we are in the design phase of the program, meaning we have sent in all the information and specs on things we want, and they are doing the basic layout and design is some of the things we are doing.

*Basic design is black
*Horizontal Drop Down Menu with the following
---Men's Sports
---Women's Sports
---Fan Center
---Athletic Department
---Donor Info
*Front Page banner is animated
*Sport pages are specific to sport
*Four Rotating stories on the front, three smaller, and three headlines
*RSS Feed
*Facebook Integration (this is totally cool)
*Twitter Integration (also cool)
*Text message updates (insanely cool)
*Homepage video player
*Splash pages
*Calendar of upcoming events
*Photo Purchase
*YouTube Channel
*Online Store
*Online Donation Form
*Online Recruiting Form
*Ask the AD

And the one I just found about at CoSIDA, but I believe we will be able to have an iPhone application made for the site for those iPhone users (and to anyone who hasn't seen the iPhone4 vs HTC Evo video on youtube, it's hilarious...the language is pretty bad so you are forewarned, and I won't link to it because of that, but oh my is it funny).

Anyways, we are all really excited about the site here, and looking forward to getting to start working on it for real, instead of training.

We are Viral...Wanna Help?
So one of the thing at CoSIDA I saw was the tremendous push towards video stuff, meaning Katie and I have got to get our flips out more. That being said, we brainstormed an idea. The basis for these viral videos is the NFL Fantasy Files clips, which are awesome, but mostly done with trick cameras. We don't have that technology, so we have to get our student-athletes to really do these crazy cool things. With that being said, our first one is now done, (starring Russel Hill). Please grab it, post it on myspace and facebook and pass it around. More are coming...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Teichert Signs Danielle Downs and JUCO Transfer Vanessa Muir

PHOTO: Danielle Downs signing her NLI papers to play for Idaho State.

Pocatello, ID – Head Coach Chad Teichert has inked two more players, junior college transfer Vanessa Muir and freshman Danielle Downs, to the Idaho State volleyball team bringing Teichert’s total signee count up to four athletes. The six-foot duo will join the Bengal squad for the 2010 season.

Muir, a 6-0 middle blocker transferring from Casper College, was named North Player of the Year, First Team All-Conference and All-Region Middle Blocker last season. She helped her team to two regional championships in her career at Casper College.

"Vanessa has a lot of collegiate level experience having played junior college ball,” said Head Coach Chad Teichert. “She's an athletic kid and I’d like to think she can contribute right away but we put the best people on the floor so we will see.”

At Star Valley High School Muir was named All-State in volleyball and helped her team to back-to-back State championships in 2004 and 2005, as well as a second place finish in 2006. She is a well rounded athlete competing in both basketball and track at Star Valley. She captured the State Championship in the High Jump and was named All-State in track as well as being named All-Conference in basketball.

PHOTO: Danielle Downs hitting a jump serve.

The Bengals continue to grow as they gain a 6-0 outside hitter Downs. As a team captain she led Davis High School to three State play-off appearances, including a fifth place finish in 2009. Downs was named All-Region and All-Area First Team in 2009 by the Standard Examiner. The Salt Lake Tribune named Downs Second Team while the Deseret News gave her Honorable Mention in 2009.

Downs excelled in club volleyball as she made back-to-back national appearances with Club V 17’s in 2008 and Club Xtreme 18 in 2009. With Club Xtreme she helped her team win the Far Western Tournament and placed in the top half at nationals in Florida. The outside hitter also excels in the classroom graduating with high honors and a 3.99 GPA. She earned All-Region, All-State and an AP Scholar Award in 2009.

"She will bring ball control and a good arm,” said Teichert. “She's a pretty good all around volleyball player with good athleticism. She can hit the ball pretty well."

Muir, a middle blocker, and Downs, an outside hitter, will join signees Lori Mendenhall and Kylee Searle for the 2010 season for Teichert’s third year leading the Bengals.

-Katie Zigars, Assistant SID

Vella Earns Malta Gold in Europe Championship

Hey Bengal Fans! It seems that the ISU athletic website will be unable to update for awhile. The services that house the website are moving to a new building. In the mean time this is what you have missed...

Vella Earns Malta Gold in Europe Championship

Yerevan, Aremenia – Forward Ashleigh Vella notched 13 points and eight rebounds in Malta’s 74-65 victory over Armenia to capture the Division C Europe Championship. Vella, who holds dual citizenship in Australia and Malta, helped her country defeat Scotland, Wales, Moldova and Armenia on the way to the gold medal.

“We are excited about Ash’s opportunity to play international basketball. The experience she is gaining is very valuable and will help her to continue to develop as a good forward,” said Head Coach Seton Sobolewski. “It doesn’t surprise me the Ashleigh’s team won the championship. Everything she sets her mind to do she accomplishes it.”

The Bengal scored 13 points in the championship game, hitting 57.1 percent from the field as well as knocking down a trey. Against Scotland, Malta’s first contest of the tournament, she scored seven points and made 12 rebounds during the 64-35 victory.

Malta then defeated Wales 81-43, where Vella posted a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. It was also her most accurate game hitting 58.3 percent (7-of-12) from the field. Her 12 points and 8 assists effort against Moldova helped Malta clinch its appearance in the finals against Armenia, defeating Moldova 85-57. She also chipped in four rebounds.

During the course of the competitions she averaged 12.3 points, 9 rebounds and 4.3 assists, the fifth best mark in the tournament. Vella also was the second best leader in minutes for the tournament average 37.3 per game. Earning Malta a gold medal isn’t a first for Vella as she helped her team capture the championship in the Games of the Small States of Europe held in Cyprus in June of 2009.

-Katie Zigars, Assistant SID

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Men's Basketball to Take Preseason Canadian Tour

The ISU website is undergoing maintenance, so this will eventually show up over there, so I'll post it here for now.

ISU will head north in August

ISU will head north in August

July 2, 2010

Pocatello, ID --- With just four returning players and a host of newcomers, head coach Joe O'Brien knew that much of preseason practice in October and November would be about getting his team to bond, gel and learn his system of play. Well, O'Brien and company can get a big head start on the 2010-11 season as he has announced that the team will embark on a preseason tour of Vancouver, British Columbia in August, playing three games as part of Basketball Travelers, Inc.

The team will be able to practice from August 5 through August 13 before heading out on a long bus ride to Vancouver, where the team will play three games over a four-day period from Monday, August 16 to Thursday August 19. The only definite opponent set up so far is the University of Fraser Valley, who will host Idaho State on Tuesday night at 7:00 pm Pacific Time.

The Bengals return just four players from last year, one of which, Deividas Busma, redshirted after playing just seven games due to an injury. Also returning is Broderick Gilchrest, who started at point guard and is a senior, senior guard Mike Lacey, and junior guard Sherrod Baldwin.

The trip allows ISU to take advantage of a new rule in place this year that allows incoming players to take part in an international tour if they have taken and passed three hours of summer school, meaning seven of the eight newcomers will join the team. Only Kamil Gawrzydek, who is not in summer school, will not make the trip. A team can take an international trip once every four years.

"A tour like this is a tremendous benefit to us with all the new players we have entering the program," said Joe O'Brien. "Not only will we get a week's worth of practice, but we will play three games against other schools that will allow our staff to evaluate our team in a game setting."

O'Brien added, "The trip will also allow for the team to really get to know each other and bond, since a bus ride to Vancouver isn't exactly a short trip, but that is only going to benefit us down the road."

The team after the tour will have a chance to visit some of the sites of the 2010 Winter Olympics, including Whistler, British Columbia before heading back to Pocatello. "Culturally, this is a chance to really enhance the collegiate experience for our team, to see another country, and to see some of the places in the Olympics that they got to see on television will make this a great experience, not just for basketball, but educationally as well."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Fiscal Year! I'm Liking Me some 2010-11!!!

Hey gang, well, I haven't been blogging too much, but I think folks will enjoy the reason for that. Well, the main reason for that...true, I took a little vacation with my 14-year old daughter to Colorado so she could see her first major league baseball games. Also true..within 10 minutes of being in the ballpark at Coors Field a Milwaukee Brewer bullpen catcher tossed her a baseball.

Also true, I took about 10 days to go to Los Angeles to get presented with my van (you can watch it and my perfect zinger on Michael Emerson on youtube) and then I spent some time in Mesa, Arizona as the official scorer for the Western Athletic Conference baseball tournament. However, much of my time has been spent on a special little project I think you fans, and heck, anyone associated with the Bengals should be excited about.

Go to this page here...look at that map where Pocatello is located. See it? We have officially joined the ICS/Sidearm family, and we have been actively working on the new site, which is now in the design phase.

This is really really really exciting, and what has already been a tremendous amount of work is only going to become more work for us down here, but in the end it will be so worth it. Without going too deep and boring you folks to tears, there will be an Ask the A.D. section, text messaging of scores if you sign up, conference standings on the sport pages, individual sport page headers (so football players are on the football page, women's cross country on the WXC page, etc.), a fan center (with all off our marketing and promotions information, facebook, twitter, blogs, photos, wallpapers, etc.), donor information area, and new live stat applications (including soccer and softball). It's going to be fantastic. Oh ONLINE STORE for Bengal gear! FINALLY!!!!! And the heaven's opened and the choirs sing! I'm more excited about that then anything else actually.

Also, I should mention that we have had a wonderful relationship with CBS properties for eight years, and they have been great throughout this process. They got us into a solid web presence, and now we are taking the next step.

I'll try to post updates here as we are in the process of stuff, but ICS has all the photos for the headers and design, and they have the basic info on the types of layouts that we are looking for. Should be great stuff.

This will be on the site tomorrow once I get all the info, but the men's basketball team will be headed to Canada for a preseason three-game tour. This tour in mid-August is a huge advantage for ISU with all the newcomers, and most will be able to make the trip since they are in summer school already. Should be three games in the Vancouver area, so Bengal fans in that area should be on the lookout for us.

As the softball coaching search continues here at ISU, kudos to former Bengal greats Mandi Carver and D'Marr Suggs, who each picked up coaching duties in the last few days. Mandi, one of the all-time greats at Idaho State University and a no-brainer first ballot Hall of Famer in my mind, was hired at Cal State Bakersfield, meaning ISU might get to see her when we go there for basketball on December 7. D'Marr got hired onto to Louis Wilson's staff at Adams State as a graduate assistant. Two years ago D'Marr came to our game with UNC in Greeley, so this is a great opportunity for him.

Both basketball non-conferences are pretty set (the men have one opening for a home game if they can swing it), so those schedules will get released once the conference schedule is finalized (it's new this year with a Thursday/Saturday/Monday set up). ISU has a home weekend the same weekend as the conference track championships in Holt Arena, so we are working on swapping out a date, and once that's done, we will be able to release it. ISU is a home team in the bracket buster, although that will be in Reed Gym due to the Simplot Games, and it will be a split doubleheader most likely with the women, who host Montana that day as well.

OK, I'll keep you informed on the website stuff...keep sending in suggestions and thought on what you'd like to see....I haven't gotten much from you guys...


Monday, June 7, 2010

Playing the APR Game...

In college athletics, lots of acronyms make or break players, coaches, teams … acronyms like RBI, or PPG, or PCT. Fans know these acronyms and stats, and can spout them off without hesitation. I still to this day know that in 1982, National League Cy Young winner Steve Carlton hit .218 while National League home run champion Dave Kingman hit just .204, albeit with 37 home runs (I didn’t even have to look that up, and no lie, in high school I was on the Quiz Bowl team mostly for the sports knowledge and that question came up…I was the only egghead who even remotely had a shot at that and I nailed it).

However, there is another acronym that programs, and college coaches, more and more are getting judged on, and it’s a stat that is increasingly becoming as important as wins and losses. It’s three little letters with a mighty big punch.


Academic Progress Rate … a Division I system only that is greatly misunderstood, and in reality, probably hurts schools at ISU’s level more than BCS schools and leagues, but it is a system that is here to stay, and so the game, as they say, is afoot.

APR seems like a simple process to figure out in theory. Of course, to me, a car engine and how it works is a simple process in theory…put gas in, turn the key, and hey, it works. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that, and the same can be said with regards to APR.

In its simplest form, APR basically takes a student-athlete and breaks them down into two parts per semester, eligibility and retention. For this exercise, we will utilize a fictional player to make this easy…Charlie Brown (Bengal fans are chuckling I’m sure). Charlie Brown is worth two points per semester, one point for retention (staying in school) and one point for eligibility (being eligible the next semester), so if Charlie Brown is eligible and still at ISU after his fall semester, then he gets two points out of two. After the spring semester, if Charlie Brown comes back in the fall eligible, then he gets another two points out of two.

Seems simple enough, but it’s really not…especially on the retention area. If Charlie Brown leaves ISU but is eligible, then he is a 1-for-2 (he gets the eligibility point but loses the retention point). But there are exceptions…if Charlie Brown leaves school with a 2.6 GPA and transfers to four-year school, whether or not he plays sports, then the retention point is dropped completely, and Charlie is just a 1-for-1 for his last semester (the real world example of this is Taylor Marchione, who played softball last semester and is transferring to Oregon State to be closer to her family. Taylor isn’t going to play softball at Oregon State, but her GPA is high enough that Taylor’s APR score for the spring 2010 semester is 1-for-1, not 1-for-2. If they transfer to a junior college, then you lose the point.

Sometimes you can save that retention point in ways that only the really big schools can, for things like becoming eligible for the draft, or personal hardship, or many other ways that I can’t even think of.

Sometimes, you get nailed for having kids graduate…seriously. Lucas Steijn for men’s basketball cost ISU two points because he didn’t fill out the official graduation form, meaning that according to the NCAA, he didn’t graduate, even though he did. Since he was out of eligibility (having played four years) and not returning to ISU (since he graduated), Lucas was an 0-for-2…despite graduating.

In APR, the magic benchmark score is 925 … that score is figured by taking all the points earned in a sport, and dividing it by all the points possible. Let’s say a team for an academic year gets 46 points out of a possible 49, that percentage is .939, and then you multiply that by 1000, and that APR score would be a 939.

If a score is under 925 for four years (The overall APR is a four-year rolling score, which means every year the newest score will replace the oldest score, so a score stays in the equation for four years), and if a team has an 0-for-2 student-athlete, at that point, a team might incur penalties, but I’ll be honest, I don’t understand how some of the penalties come about.

Now, the reason all of this is coming out is to kind of put in layman’s terms the APR, because on Wednesday at noon or so, the NCAA will release their APR penalties, and while ISU was given high marks from the NCAA and given public recognition for having a perfect score in women’s cross country, ISU is going to get dinged pretty good in football.

By pretty good, what I mean is losing scholarships, counters, and practice time. ISU will lose two counters, meaning on national signing day, you can only get 23 kids instead of 25, and ISU will lose 3.84 scholarships (this is a change from what I posted yesterday, as I now have access to the official stuff, and it's 3.84, not 6.3 scholarships which is better). The practice time is four hours, meaning the team can only have 16 hours of countable time together, and they must take two days off a week, not one. That penalty is probably the one that hurts early in the season when school is in session, as during the actual season the team usually late in the season had Sunday and Monday off, so that will start earlier.

The good news is that this is not new news to ISU and the department, and it actually helped us get some things we sorely needed, the number one thing being an extra academic advisor in the form of Quinton Freeman. “Q”, as he was known when he was ISU’s starting safety back in the early 2000s, takes the pressure of 270 student-athletes off of Matt Steuart and gives ISU two academic advisors instead of one. The other thing that was implemented pretty quickly after we realized what some of the numbers were (and let’s be honest, of the 15 sports, ISU is doing really well in 13 of them, it’s football and softball that are struggling, and the softball thing is really tied to the coaching instability and the newness of the program) is what Jeff Tingey called the APR Improvement Plan.

This plan was modeled after some programs at other schools that have had the same issues and it has worked. The basic parts of the plan are as follows (this is from our release which is coming out when the NCAA announces the APR stuff nationally) …

All potential student-athletes are required to have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 (excluding all PE activity classes). Matt Steuart, assistant A.D. for academics, and the Registrar's office will determine the GPA by removing PE activity classes, and all potential student-athletes need to either have scored at least an 18 on both their English and Math scores on their ACT or scored at least a 450 on both their English and Math scores for the SAT. In addition, Steuart will approve all transcripts along with the Office of Academic Affairs, and Steuart will also approve all scholarship tenders.”

This plan has been in plan already through this recruiting class (the one signed in February), and I can tell you it’s been an adjustment for everyone in how they handle recruiting, because there are some kids that normally you would recruit that you just can’t right now. Basically, until the APR scores go up, it’s hard to justify taking a chance on a kid because the downside (a kid not making it) is too great a risk to take.

The bonus is that there is clear evidence that the plan works and can really help not only a program with APR issues, but really help other teams with staying out of what I refer to as “APR Hell”. The real issue is APR is like a soft chair…easy to get in it, and hard to get out of it. Kudos to coaches like Joe O’Brien, Brian Jannsen, and Allison Gibson who understand how to play the APR game (and make no bones about it, there is a game to it), and next year once O’Brien has four years of APR scores from his own time here at ISU, he is going to rank among the nation’s top programs.

Coach Z has really been snake bit a good deal with the retention issues, because he runs into a situation where in football, kids don’t pan out. A walk-on leaving the program like Ben Laporta doesn’t hurt, and Kyle Blum graduated, so that doesn’t hurt. The Keith Goins’ and Kenny Viser’s of the world? Those hurt. That’s been a learning process for the football coaching and recruiting staff, and they are getting better. We won’t know this year’s score until the fall, but the early indications are it will be better, but I couldn’t fathom a guess as to where or how much.

The really interesting thing is to watch the official NCAA release and look at how many penalties are incurred by BCS schools (i.e., schools that have the money, resources, and academic infrastructure in place to help avoid penalties), and look at how many are from mid-major and smaller conferences (i.e., schools that need more funds/manpower/stuff/computers). John Canzano of the Oregonian has a great piece about APR and the issue at Portland State here and he talks about some of the loopholes and things much clearer than I can.

In the end, it’s going to look and sound bad, and it was a hot topic way back when on the Bengal Den and around the ISU internet presence. Make no bones, it’s a cause for concern, but it’s one of those things where it was seen coming down the pike and the solution was put in place a while back to get a handle on it. I suppose there are bunch of woulda/coulda/shoulda things that might have prevented this from even happening, but the only thing we can do about the past is learn from it so that we don’t repeat it. What Bengal fans should feel good about is that for the most part, ISU’s programs are doing well in the APR, and a plan is in place to round out the programs that are on the low end.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rolling out the red carpet for the fans....


I hold in my hand a pair of contracts...contracts for websites. Very exciting stuff....I get the final presentation over the phone, and then hopefully one of these will be signed and sent to the company we are going with, and then it is a nine-week sprint to an August 1 launch date.

While I'm happy for Idaho State and the athletic department at the latest web evolution (as I mentioned in this blogpost, which also touches on a contest I entered), I'm excited for our fans. We can have a splash page! Drop downs with ticket information or alerts ... just some good things...but here is the deal. While the website has to serve Idaho State's functions for an athletic department, it needs to serve the fans as well, and that's where you guys come in.

Over the next 10 days or so, I'm going to be in Los Angeles for the LOST finale showing at the Orpheum Theater (and to get photos with my grand prize of the DHARMA Van from the show, since I won the video contest!), and then I'm headed to Arizona to serve as the official scorer for the Western Athletic Conference baseball tournament. I have asked the coaches of the various sports and teams what they want in a website...but what do you guys want? Is there anything on the web that you go "Why can't ISU have that?" All I ask is be reasonable knowing the limitations on dollars and staffing, but let me know, because it could be something I hadn't even thought of, and it could be very doable. I would prefer that you email me at, and in the subject line put WEBSITE IDEAS, so I can immediately save it in the right folder and I can identify what it is right away.

I know we are looking at incorporating our blogs, facebook , and twitter into the new site, I want rotating pictures on the stories on the front page, sport specific headers...heck, I'm kinda wanting different livestats ... but touch base on what you the fan want, or what you the parent want. As always, no guarantees, other than I will listen to everyone's suggestions.

With that, I've got laundry to do if I'm going to be on the same red carpet as Michael Emerson (and that's not even a lie!!!!)


Friday, May 7, 2010

Miller Ranch Stadium Did Happen and It's Coming....

So someone wanted to know why there is nothing yet on the website about Miller Ranch Stadium (it was way to smart-alecky a comment to publish, but the point was valid). However, here is why there is nothing on there yet.

I got back from the ground breaking at about 2:30 or so, and I was in the office for not long at all, basically only long enough to download the video files onto my laptop. I then set up a few interviews for folks (Joe O'Brien, coming to an Idaho State Journal near you on Wednesday with a big recruiting wrap-up) and then I had to pick up a Suburban at the motor pool to help shuttle softball players down to Weber State for the games on Friday and Saturday. Then I had to get my dad's allowance (seriously), and then shovel food in my mouth in order to get my daughter to her softball game at 4:45 (I was late). She played from 5:30 to 6:50 (won 6-5 on a bases loaded error trying to pick a runner off first with two outs...yeesh), and then had hockey until 9 pm or so (a big 7-1 win with 34 saves thank you very much).

From there it was come home, shower (I stink after games after wearing all that equipment), and then after a quick snack, I edited the video while watching Survivor (Spoiler Alert...Russell is pure evil). Once I got the video done, it was too big to load to youtube, so I had to download Windows Movie maker on my computer to shrink the file, which took forever as my connection at the house was SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOW. Once that was all done, I started the youtube upload, and it's after midnight and there is still two hours left on the upload. Usually this is way faster, but that's why it's not up there yet. Hopefully before I bus out in the morning.

FYI the plan is to post some photo updates of the progress throughout the summer.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Here's a sneak peak for you....

....OK, I've been sitting on this and didn't want to post on the main site without Joe's quotes, but RECRUITING IS OVER!!!!! (YEAH!) Here is recruit #8, Kamil Gawrzydek (and I have no clue how to pronounce that just yet)

A Kamil Makes Eight, ISU Signs North Platte’s Gawrzydek

6-11 center completes recruiting class for 2010-11 season

Pocatello, ID --- Idaho State University Joe O’Brien and his coaching staff have probably earned a little R-&-R as O’Brien has announced the signing of 6-11 center Kamil Gawrzydek of Teresin, Poland for the 2010-11 season, completing a large eight-man recruiting class. Gawrzydek joins Abner Moreira of Western Wyoming Junior College, Nick Mason of Memphis Southwind High School, Chase Grabau of North Platte Community College, Justin Brunswick of Middletown Madison High School, Kenny McGowen of the College of the Sequioas, Brandon Glanz of Las Vegas Coronado High School and Andre' Hatchett of Tucson Santa Rita High School. Gawrzydek’s signing completes the 2010 recruiting class, one that features four JC transfers and four high school seniors.

Gawrzydek, who was a college teammate of Bengal recruit Chase Grabau at North Platte CC, was slated to be the starting center last year before injuries derailed his sophomore season. He ended up playing in 23 games for North Platte, and 223 minutes total. Despite that, he still shot .686 from the field and averaged 3.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per game in less than 10 minutes of action. Despite his limited minutes he still finished third on the team in blocks as well.

North Platte last year went 29-6 and won the NJCAA Region IX championship, advancing to NJCAA National Tournament for the first time in school history.

So as soon as I get Joe's quote, that will be on the site, so it's a sneak preview for all the bloggers that read this.

And Now Help Me Win a VAN!!!!
I entered a homemade video into a contest sponsored by the Jay and Jack Lost Podcast, and it got picked as a finalist. I've already won a finalist prize, which is a replica of the LOST four-toed statue, but the winner of the internet vote wins a real Dharma Initiative Van. This is totally for real, and I could use help from the Bengal faithful...all you have to do is go directly to my video here....

and click the thumbs up button underneath the video. You have to be logged into Youtube to do that, but I really would appreciate it. Thanks gang