Tony Hilde has devoted much of his life to football, going from a standout quarterback at Pendleton High (Ore.) to a starting job as a true freshman for Boise State beginning in 1993.
Hilde led the Broncos to a runner-up finish in the NCAA Division I-AA final in 1994, and his name remains prominent in the BSU record book, ranking second all-time in total offense (10,138).
But in recent years, Hilde has switched gears, trading in his role as the Eagle High football team’s offensive coordinator to serve as an assistant with the baseball team.
Last week, Hilde was named the Mustangs’ head baseball coach, replacing Frank Wright, who founded the program in 1996 and retired in June after 44 seasons and an overall record of 642-313.
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“I love the Eagle community and the group of kids who are coming through,” Hilde said. “I want to continue on the tradition that Frank has built. Hopefully I can keep him around a couple more years working with me.
“I want to see our program continue to grow and see players go to college and do great things.”
Although Hilde is known to most around the Treasure Valley for his years on the blue turf, Hilde isn’t out of his element on the baseball diamond.
He was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 32nd round of the 1993 MLB Draft following a senior season at Pendleton in which he hit .440 and played center field.
“I’ve always had a love for baseball, and I’ve kind of got back into it coaching,” Hilde said. “Being around Frank, it’s kind of turned into my passion.”
CENTENNIAL HIRES GIRLS HOOPS COACH
Candace Thornton was chosen Friday to take over one of the most successful girls basketball programs in the state.
The 2004 West Side graduate played collegiately at Northern Colorado and has spent the past three years as the girls director and board member for the Boise-based Idaho Elite club program.
This will be Thornton’s second head varsity position, as she coached for two years at Mountain Crest in Logan, Utah.
“Fortunately for me, Centennial already has, and has had for a long time, a great program. They have a great foundation,” Thornton said. “So until I really meet the girls and get a feel for who we have coming back this season and who we have coming up, my goal is just to kind of pick up where they left off and encourage them to keep working hard.”
Centennial finished second at state last season and 23-4 overall. In the past four years under Cassie Bro — who left for an assistant coaching position at Buford High in Georgia — the Patriots went 75-25.
7-ON-7 TOURNAMENT EXPANDS
The sixth annual Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Football Challenge is expected to draw 38 varsity and junior varsity teams and more than 800 athletes for its July 15-16 event at the Optimist Youth Sports Complex in Boise.
That’s up from a combined 24 teams and 500 players in 2011.
Nearly every 5A and 4A SIC program is scheduled to attend, including defending champions Emmett (varsity 7-on-7), Capital (tug-of-war) and Mountain View (Lineman Challenge).
The 7-on-7 competition features 15-minute halves, no pads, no defensive rushes and a 3.5-second time limit for quarterback passing. Teams are awarded six points for a touchdown, three points for an interception and one point each for an offensive first down or a defensive stop. Emmett edged Mountain View 38-37 for last year’s title.
The Lineman Challenge includes a tire-flip relay, spud-carry relay, five-man truck push, kneeling medicine ball throw, pro agility shuttle, bench press and an obstacle course.
VALLEY PLAYERS JOIN IDAHO HOOPS TEAMS
▪ Zac Furgerson, a 2016 Eagle graduate, has signed to play for Northwest Nazarene beginning this fall. The 6-foot-4 small forward/shooting guard averaged 15.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game as a senior.
▪ Keshawn Liggins joins Idaho State as a preferred walk-on transferring from Big Bend Community College (Moses Lake, Wash.). The 6-5 guard is a 2014 Middleton graduate and will have two years of eligibility remaining.
LEGION TEAMS CONVERGE ON VALLEY
A pair of AA American Legion baseball tournaments will be played this week in the Treasure Valley.
▪ The River City Classic began Wednesday and runs through Sunday at Jack Acree Field, Timberline, Mountain View and Rocky Mountain high schools. The championship game is set for 3 p.m. Sunday at Rocky Mountain. The tournament features two teams from Australia, plus Idaho, Washington, Nevada, Montana and Utah programs.
▪ The Summer Classic Wood Bat Tournament starts Thursday at Boise, Borah and Centennial high schools showcasing teams from Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Centennial hosts the championship game at 10 a.m. Sunday.