For the first time since he was in the fourth grade, 47-year-old Robb Akey is spending the fall without a football team to call his own.
Which isnt to say Akey who was fired as Idahos head coach last year, eight games into his sixth season in Moscow hasnt found a way to be a part of a team.
These players, however, just call him Dad.
Its been awesome being able to be a dad. Not coaching, just watching, Akey said. This time off, Ive been able to get reacquainted with the family.
Jack Akey is a junior at Moscow High, where he plays wide receiver on the football team and point guard on the basketball team. Akey spent the summer following Jacks Montana-based AAU basketball team from tournament to tournament.
Daniel Akey is a sophomore at Moscow, where he also plays basketball. Akey has spent time golfing with his younger son and helping him with fantasy football.
You dont realize how much you miss it until you get to be around it. I thought Id have time for more fishing trips and golf and things like that. But every time one of those opportunities come about, it means missing one of those things the boys are doing. I already missed 20 years of those things, Akey said.
Its cool to be a part of those things, to see Jack go through his season and seeing it as a dad and not seeing it as a coach. I havent done some of those other things. Coaching buddies will say come out to one of our games, spend some time at practice. As much as I want to, I dont want to steal any time away.
But Akey, who played at Weber State from 1984-87 and began his coaching career at his alma mater the next season, knows even his boys are eager for him to return to the sidelines.
Theyve been ready to get me out of here for about six months. A lot of it has been cool, but theyre ready for me to get my tail back to work, Akey said.
Akey is being paid his base salary of more than $165,000 by Idaho through June 2014. Akey filed a lawsuit against the school in April for a fair and equitable portion of the $105,000 he would have made in contracted media revenue had he finished the 2012 season.
He is eager to get back, too. Coaching is what hes always done. He said he talked with some schools about jobs in the offseason.
I miss it. I miss it in a big way. Its been a part of my life forever, he said. I do want to be a head coach again. Im anxious to do that again. If I have to be a coordinator or position coach first, well see how that works itself out. Im anxious to be able to do it again and get rolling. I want to run a program and have success and get continued success.
Akey led Idaho to its first bowl game in a decade in 2009, but could not sustain success in Moscow, where he finished with a 20-50 record.
With his boys back in school, Akey is using his time to get an education of his own. A refresher course on coaching and football. Its home school. Akey records as many games as possible, watches them all and takes plenty of notes. He cant get enough of football, watching tape from Moscow High, recorded college games every day of the week and NFL games on Sundays.
Im a junkie, he said.
Saturdays, however, have a much different feel. They start with ESPNs College GameDay at 6 a.m. and consist of four or five games. Hes always checking on coaching friends.
The stress is gone.
The most relaxed Ive ever been on a Saturday, Akey said.
He is evaluating everything he did at Idaho running the program, practice schedules, the style of offense and defense, areas to recruit, recruiting strategies. He is putting his thoughts together on all of it, jotting it all down, formulating a plan for the next opportunity.
Akey is also pondering where it might take him and considering the possibility that it might take him far from home. His family has lived in the Palouse since 1999, when he began coaching at Washington State. A new opportunity either means packing up the family or moving away. Its one more reason hes trying to fill each day with as many dad moments as possible.
I get a little feedback every day how their practices went, how things are going, Akey said. Being away, you miss a lot of little things that are big things. Also I know thats the way its going to be when I get back in the saddle.
But the saddle is where he wants to be. Building a program. Feeling the pressure on Saturdays. Being back on a football team of his own.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444