Reno Mayor Bob Cashell and then-Nevada President Milton Glick co-wrote a letter to Boise State football fans two years ago apologizing for the Wolf Pack fans behavior during and after their upset win over Boise State at Mackay Stadium. On Saturday, the Broncos and their fans return to Mackay for the first time since that game.
Despite recent open-heart surgery, Cashell said hes working to ensure the Nevada fans are better behaved this time and to assure Boise State fans that they should attend the game. One group of 20 fans decided to go to Reno after speaking to him, he said.
Boise fans are great and we love them, he said. I was really embarrassed for my city when a few bad apples made us look bad. I really appreciate the response Ive gotten from a lot of citizens up there. I told them what were doing to try to change the atmosphere.
Heres the bulk of our interview:
Q: What prompted you to write that letter?
A: Our fans were very disrespectful. They got carried away and were abusive to the Boise fans. Thats just not right. Its a reflection on our community. Boise brings a lot of fans to Reno. Its a good rivalry and we want to keep it going. When you have people acting like jackasses, you have to control them.
Q: What kind of feedback have you received since?
A: Ive gotten a lot of feedback from people in Boise. Some people called me and said they werent coming anymore if things didnt change. I hope weve made some changes that will make people behave and straighten up and treat people with respect like the Boise people treat me when I go to Boise. They thank me for coming. We want our Reno fans to be that way. And its just a handful of people that made our city look bad is what irritates me.
Q: What is being done this year?
A: The set of bleachers (in the south end zone) where the most profanity and beer-throwing came out of, Ive asked for (police) officers to be stationed in those bleachers along the rail. If they do anything out of line, bust them, take them to jail and let them get out of there. I think youre going to see a different atmosphere this time.
Q: Are you doing anything to promote sportsmanship?
A: Were looking at doing some press releases in town. (In 2010), I went to the 50-yard line with Dr. Glick and we told everybody there (to show good sportsmanship). They just didnt listen to us.
Q: Thousands of Boise State fans come to Reno every two years. What does that mean to the city?
A: Thats a great economic boost.
Q: Are you going to miss the rivalry?
A: Oh yeah, but Im hoping Boise stays in the Mountain West.
Q: Nevada football has been on a good run. How have you seen the community respond?
A: The boosters and the fans are picking up. We just dont have the fan base like they do in Boise. Boises got a great fan base. I think we have too many things going on in town with the casinos and everything else. Were a college town and we need to accept that and were doing what we can to make it better.
Q: This is a big game with a rival and ABC in town. You looking forward to it?
A: Oh yes. Im rebounding well (from surgery). Im hoping Ive got the energy to go to the game. I always like to get the buildings blue and change the arch to blue, but I think I missed my date (to get that done).