When Bryan Harsin was hired as Boise State’s football coach in December 2013, he quickly developed a motto of “embrace the past, attack the future.” He hopes that the former can be more of an emphasis as he approaches his fifth season at the helm.
“With our history, I don’t know why it’s not all around our stadium like you see at so many other places,” Harsin said.
Outside of the Fiesta Bowl wins, there are scant references to Boise State’s past successes at Albertsons Stadium.
With a fan base that claims plenty of transplants, few know there’s just one retired number. Quarterback Jim McMillan (1972-74) and his No. 12 have only a small display in the hall of fame in the southwest corner of the stadium. Whether it is displaying names of past greats or listing bowl wins, it’s been on Athletic Director Curt Apsey’s mind, too.
“We’ve talked about a ring of honor. We’ve talked about championship banners. We’ve talked about flying flags above the stadium. We’ve talked about all that stuff,” Apsey said. “Overall, we just think we have to do a better job recognizing our success in our facilities.
“I think a ring of honor is a great idea if we can find a way to get it done and we’ll certainly try to do that sooner rather than later.”
Of course that would cost money, something the department will always search for. With a baseball program being started, most dollars are spoken for. But Apsey hopes that the hall of fame be renovated. For tourists and fans on non-game days, the only way to see the turf is to walk through the hall of fame.
Apsey said he has sought out renderings to open up the area to see the turf. “I think you need to see that immediately when you come in the building,” he said. Apsey would like to incorporate modern technology into the hall of fame experience, estimating it would cost approximately $1 million. Boise State resurrected the hall of fame inductions this year, the first class since 2007.
In the Boise State weight room, Harsin has references to past teams like the 1980 Division I-AA national champions to motivate his squad. He texts his team every Thursday in the summer with a bio of past greats, recently McMillan, running back Cedric Minter and defensive back Chris Carr.
Harsin said he wants to have those nods in the stadium so his players can think, “I want to be up there some day.” He also wants the fans to realize they had a hand in those moments, too.
“You’re the winningest fan base in college football in 19 seasons ... this isn’t just me. To have those things around our stadium when you walk in there, you should walk into that and be like ‘damn,’” Harsin said. “Those teams and what they accomplished should be promoted.”
HARSIN ON TURF: ‘IT’S IN BAD SHAPE’
Though putting up a ring of honor or renovating the hall of fame is a want, there is a more pressing need at Albertsons Stadium. The current iteration of the blue turf is getting pretty frayed.
“It’s in bad shape. It can get through another year,” Harsin said.
The most recent replacement came in 2010, and FieldTurf usually has a life span of 8-10 years. Apsey has said he would like to have a new field put in place before the 2019 season. Harsin noted that the sidelines are no longer perfectly straight, mentioning that a BYU interception return for a touchdown in 2016 was aided by the bowed line.
Harsin also would prefer the turf cover most of the concrete areas surrounding the field where the track once was, saying players tend to slip on it when coming off the field.
“The field is shredding,” Harsin said. “It’s just old. It needs to be replaced. It’s just time.”
AZTECS EAGER FOR SHOT AT BRONCOS
San Diego State’s first trip to Boise since a memorable 2014 visit will take place Oct. 6. It could be a preview of the Mountain West championship. That last meeting on the blue was a 38-29 Boise State on a night that got as cold as 9 degrees.
“I’m hoping it’ll at least be 10,” linebacker Ronley Lakalaka said.
The 2014 matchup was headline-worthy before the game because Aztecs coach Rocky Long famously said the stadium had lost its “mystique.” That rankled Harsin, who thought a team that didn’t have its own stadium shouldn’t be so critical.
For San Diego State, it will offer a chance to get some revenge after a 31-14 loss to Boise State at Qualcomm Stadium last year. The Aztecs were 6-0, but after losing to Boise State they lost the following week to Fresno State.
“It’s going to be a huge game. It’s one that’s always on our minds, especially with what happened last year,” quarterback Christian Chapman said. “They came into our place and totally manhandled us. ... It really humbled us.”
ROLOVICH ENTERTAINING AGAIN
Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich has made a habit of being the most interesting coach at the Mountain West Football Media Summit. Last year, he brought along an Elvis impersonator — though he had hoped to have a trained monkey sit on his shoulder for interviews.
On Wednesday, he brought along a Britney Spears impersonator, who surprised him during a TV interview.
“Oops, I did it again,” Rolovich said.
Like he did in 2017, Rolovich brought gift bags for other coaches. He put old or comical photos of the coaches on each bag — Utah State’s Matt Wells and Air Force’s Troy Calhoun in their playing days and one of Harsin holding the family dog while wakesurfing on Lake Cascade.