Greg Randall, a fixture of Boise State wrestling for 23 years, knew his program well enough that he saw the end coming.
The longest-tenured coach in the Broncos’ athletic department will not return next season, the university announced Monday.
Randall, an assistant for nine seasons before becoming the head coach in 2002, led Boise State to six top-25 finishes and four Pac-12 championships.
The Broncos were 9-26-1 in duals the past three seasons, however.
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“I feel I did everything I could in the sport. I think it was time. I’d have probably fired myself, too,’’ Randall said. “The wins weren’t there. I’m proud of what I accomplished, and I hope they find someone who can get the job done.
“I kind of knew the day was coming, tried to prepare myself and my family. Truth is, I’m fine with it. Everyone at Boise State was professional about it, and I’m excited for whatever is next.”
A three-time All-American at Iowa, Randall isn’t sure what is next but said “it won’t be in wrestling, I guarantee that.”
Assistant coach Taylor Meeks will serve as the interim coach until the school hires a permanent replacement. Meeks wrestled at Oregon State from 2010 to 2015.
Randall, 52, said “it’s a young man’s sport” and hopes the Broncos can find an up-and-coming coach to get the program back to its winning ways.
“We want to thank Greg for all his years of service to Boise State and his commitment to our student-athletes,” Boise State Athletic Director Curt Apsey said in a statement. “A national search for a new wrestling head coach will begin immediately.”
Randall won 121 duals and coached 12 All-Americans at Boise State.
“God bless those wrestlers and their families,” he said. “I was lucky to have spent 24 years at Boise State. It was a real blessing for me and my family. I can’t say enough about the people I worked with there.”
RICE SPEAKS OUT ON TWO DEPARTURES
Boise State basketball coach Leon Rice met with the media Monday for the first time since the season ended March 10, covering a variety of topics, including the hiring of assistant coach Phil Beckner.
Beckner spent last season on Nebraska’s staff and worked at Weber State from 2007-14. His first season with the Wildcats, as director of basketball operations, was the final season Boise State associate head coach Jeff Linder was on the Weber State staff.
“Phil’s got an association with this part of the country from his time at Weber State. He’s got such a good reputation out there as a player development guy and as a high-level, connected recruiter. He does a diligent job in everything he does. He’s going to be a good fit for what we have staff-wise,” Rice said.
Beckner replaces Danny Henderson, now at Oklahoma State. Like Henderson, Beckner will be tasked as the primary defensive coach.
“It’s a great situation for us, and I think we rebounded perfectly,” Rice said.
Here’s a look at other topics Rice addressed:
▪ On James Webb III’s early departure for a pro career: “We hit a milestone with a kid that’s coming out early. ... He’s going to end up having a great career because he’s working really hard at it, he’s got the ability. We’ve seen how much he’s grown every year he’s been here, and if he continues that growth, he’ll have a long career.”
▪ On Webb’s pro/NBA potential: “The thing about him, he does some things. ... He has a certain skill set, things he does at the highest of levels. He has a terrific motor. He goes and rebounds the ball. His shooting took a dip this year, but he can really shoot the basketball.”
▪ On how the team may replace Webb: “James brought us that athleticism that can match up with the Mountain West. We have to get more athletic. We have to have some guys that can score the basketball that have athleticism and a little bit of size. I feel really good about our combo guards, our young guards that we’re going to develop. We’ve got good big guys in the stable. What we don’t have right now, maybe, is that we have Chandler (Hutchison), and then we don’t have that many athletic wings.”
▪ Recruiting goals with three open scholarships: “I’ve got a lot of belief in the guys we have in this locker room. ... I have big plans for the guys we’re bringing in, big plans for the guys that didn’t play this year, like Malek (Harwell), David (Wacker) and James Reid. ... I love our young talent. If we can add the right piece in the spring, then I’d feel really, really good about what we have.”
▪ On his own status after interviewing at Saint Louis: “I love being the coach here. I love our players, what we have coming back, this community. We’re building something. It’s hard to go from a good program, a really good team, to a great program, and we’re trying to make that step. ... Now we’ve got to take another step, we need a commitment from the community, our players, our staff, our administration, everybody. It takes more to do more. We’re going to have to keep stepping it up. Nothing’s ever changed as far as when I took this job, the potential I saw in it.”
▪ On opting out of the Vegas 16 Tournament: “We were pretty close. ... It just didn’t end up panning out. They ended up only getting eight teams. It just felt like the right thing, to start moving forward, moving onto next year. ... If we’d have been a really young team that needed more experience, that would’ve been a good fit.”
▪ Rice said walk-ons Cody Spjute (Borah High) and Collin Landry (Portland) won’t return next season.