In recent years Boise State University has been an emerging powerhouse in college athletics. Particularly in football. Their overtime win over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl was one of the greatest thrillers in college football history.
Believe it or not, the Broncos are the winningest team in all of college football since 1999. They are 102-24 in that period (an .809 winning percentage.) They also have the winningest home record in all of college football over the past five seasons. The team went a perfect 13-0 in the 2006 season and is regularly in the nation’s Top 25, finishing as high as #5.
Not bad for a school that didn’t become a Division One program until the late 1990’s and wasn’t even a four year university until the mid 70’s.
With their small-school underdog status, Boise State has developed a bit of a cult following nationwide. They are also the only team in football history that plays its games on BLUE turf.
Here’s another interesting fact about Boise State University athletics: In the entire history of the school only ONE man has called all of the Broncos football and basketball games. That man’s name is Paul J. Schneider.
PAUL J. SCHNEIDER
Schneider is obviously a Boise institution. He has been the football and basketball team’s only play-by-play announcer for the past 33 years. He is also a popular local radio morning show host, former tv anchor and for years was also the announcer at the city’s horse racing track.
Schneider is your typical small town announcer. What he lacks in ability he certainly makes up for in enthusiasm. He is also one of the great homer announcers in all of sports. Boise State never committed a foul or a penalty in 33 years on the basketball court or football field if you listened to Paul J’s calls of the games. The Broncos were robbed by the refs on EVERY play.
This year Boise State is switching radio stations. After 33 years as the Broncos announcer, Paul J. Schneider has been unceremoniously dumped by the school.
Schneider’s dismissal wasn’t your typical team-switches-radio-stations-and-gets-a-new-announcer move. The station that eventually acquired Boise State’s broadcast rights said it would be willing to talk to Schneider about a role in its Bronco broadcasts. A local blog uncovered documents that showed the school actually PLOTTED Schneider’s ouster.
The plan was to replace Schneider with a relative of one of the school’s boosters. The new announcer was going to be Karl Karcher. Karcher is a relative of Carl Karcher-as in the “Carl” from the Carl’s Jr. restaurant chain and an heir to the family fortune. The plan was for the idiot-rich-kid heir to get the announcing job then have his family donate millions of dollars to the Boise State athletic department.
Unfortunately for Boise State, Karcher’s station didn’t get the radio contract. Boise State eventually settled on Dave Koehn for the Broncos announcing job.
Great choice. Koehn is considered a rising young star in broadcasting. His selection by Boise State was an inspired one. Particularly since their original decision was to dump an icon who is a local institution in favor of the hamburger guy’s nephew.
Unfortunately for Boise State, karma’s a bitch. After he had already accepted the job and just hours before the formal announcement, Koehn got offered the play-by-play gig for the University of Virginia. Koehn took about five seconds to think over his decision then showed Boise State the same loyalty that they’d shown Schneider. He bolted town and took the Virginia job before ever being formally hired by Boise State.
Today’s Idaho Statesman has the news that Boise State has finally hired it’s replacement for Schneider-it’s former U-Mass announcer Bob Behler.
(*one inside radio note: longtime San Diego sports talk show host and former Chargers and Seahawks announcer, Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton, flew into Boise to apply for the job. He wasn’t hired-how big a slap is that?)
Behler was no better than Boise State’s FOURTH CHOICE for the job. That’s why they treated an icon like Schneider like crap and threw him out as if he were yesterday’s trash? For Bob Freakin’ Behler?
Schneder isn’t the only local legend that Boise State has treated like garbage.
Ian Johnson was Boise State’s hero in their stunning Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma. In a once-in-a-lifetime moment, Johnson made the game-winning score then PROPOSED TO THE CHEERLEADER on camera before a national audience.
IAN JOHNSON AND HIS FUTURE WIFE
Visually, it was the crowning moment in Boise State history. Unfortunately, in Idaho, the fairy tail doesn’t always come true. Yes, Johnson did get the girl. The cheerleader said yes to his proposal and Johnson did eventually marry Chrissy Popadics. But, in one of the most under reported sports stories ever, the couple had “30-40 people suggest” they shouldn’t get married.
Why? Because, according to the good people of Idaho, Johnson is black and Popdics is, well…white. The couple even received DEATH THREATS proving once again the only things ever to come out of Idaho are potatoes and Nazis. Thanks for the memories Ian Johnson! Johnson even had to hire extra security for the wedding which was held in Boise. Johnson paid for the security guards out of his own pocket.
The school refused to make any any kind of statement condemning the actions of the racist morons who threatened their Fiesta Bowl star or even offer any statement backing Johnson and his young bride (a former BOISE STATE CHEERLEADER.) Instead, Boise State spent all of its efforts trying to cover up and minimize the incident.
Ian Johnson and Paul J. Schneider are arguably the two biggest heroes in the history of Boise State University. Nobody has done more for the University in terms of years of service (Schneider) or visibility (Johnson.) Yet both have been treated like crap by the university.
The treatment of Schneider and Johnson also says a lot about athletic director Gene Blaymaier and his administration cronies who are truly vile, contemptible human beings.
The Ian Johnson incident was particularly shameful. By refusing to condemn racist death threats to its star player, the school, by inference and inaction, indirectly condones racism.
If people knew what evil, detestable human beings were running the school, Boise State wouldn’t be beloved as the plucky-little-university-that-could.
They would be universally despised.