Tag Archives: university of idaho

Idaho coach Robb Akey terminated

21 Oct

Idaho football coach Robb Akey has been terminated effective immediately and Offensive Coordinator Jason Gesser will take over as head coach on an interim basis, the athletic department announced Sunday.

“The President (Duane Nellis) and I believe it is important to make this move now so we can immediately begin the process of hiring a new coach for the 2013 season,” Athletic Director Rob Spear said. “We appreciate Coach Akey’s enthusiasm and dedication to the University of Idaho but this is the right move at this time.”

The termination comes on the heels of Akey’s 70th game as coach of the Vandals, a 70-28 loss at La. Tech. Akey is 20-50 in his five-and-a-half seasons with Idaho and 1-7 this season.

Spear said a search for Akey’s replacement will begin immediately.

News conference audio —

Rob Spear


Jason Gesser


Akey signed a contract extension in June 2010 following the Vandals’ Humanitarian Bowl victory. The extension was set to extend through 2014. Per terms of the agreement, if terminated, Akey would receive his base annual salary of $165,796.80 per year “until the terms of this agreement ends or until (Akey) obtains employment, which occurs first.”

In Akey’s third season with the Vandals, he led the team to a 8-5 record which included a Humanitarian Bowl victory, Idaho’s second ever bowl victory.

Notable players to play under Akey include San Francisco 49ers left guard Mike Iupati, Houston Texans safety Shiloh Keo and former Chicago Bears quarterback Nathan Enderle.

Idaho starting quarterback Dominique Blackman along with other Vandals took to Twitter following Akey’s termination to express their feelings.

Gesser, who has been on the Idaho staff for two seasons, spent time as a quarterback in the NFL and Canadian Football League after playing his college football at Washington State. Before coming to Idaho, Gesser coached the Eastside Catholic High School Crusaders from Sammamish, Wash., for two seasons.

WAC Tournament: Idaho Women vs Fresno State

10 Mar

The Idaho women were blown out by the Fresno State Bulldogs in the quarterfinal round of the WAC Tournament. The Vandals were unable to get any offensive pressure in the first half, which put them in a hole they were unable to recover from. Photos courtesy of Ilya Pinchuk

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Highlights from Idaho’s 114-73 win over Willamette University

7 Nov

The Vandals blew past Willamette Saturday night, putting up 114 points in a shootout victory. In case you missed the game, here are some highlights with a sports center-style commentary.

The roundup — Oct. 13

13 Oct

Phew, mid terms are here and to say we’ve been swamped with coursework is an understatement. Regardless, we’ll try and keep up to date on Vandal events. We hope these quasi-daily roundups will help keep everyone informed of the progress happening in Vandal Nation. A big shout out to the UI Argonaut, which has agreed to share their killer content with us (helps when you know the editor :)). They have some great writers and help us fill in the gaps, as one person certainly can’t be in five places at once.


  • First and foremost, the Idaho Vandals soccer squad broke several school records this weekend, as they notched victories over Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State. You can check out my coverage of the events for the UI Argonaut here.
  • The Vandal volleyball team rebounded against the Nevada Wolf Pack. Kevin Bingaman of the UI Argonaut has the story.
  • Idaho’s swimming and diving team kicked off their 2010 season with the first official meet. Two freshmen Vandals medaled in their first career college races. Argonauts Vicky Hart has the scoop.
  • Vicky also followed the women’s golf squad as they traveled to Tacoma and reports on their disappointing results.
  • We’ve also partnered with professor Julie Scott’s Sports Broadcast Journalism class, which produces videos for a hour-long segment called ‘Inside the Vandals’ seen locally on KLEW every Thursday. They have been kind enough to share their work with us as well as the university. There is some high-quality work coming from these up and coming journalists. For proof, check out their feature story on Idaho football tight end Daniel Hardy.
  • Ever wanted to know how the UI swimming and diving team gears up for races. Inside the Vandals takes you behind the scenes.
  • The Idaho Statesman has an interesting write-up of the WAC football voting and rankings. Check it out here.
  • In case you haven’t heard, the UI will finally be represented, as Horizon Air is painting one of their planes in the great silver and gold colors of UI.

That’s it for this edition of the roundup. Keep checking back here, and follow us on Twitter, for the (hopefully) latest updated on Vanda sports!

Rolling the dice

5 Oct

Idaho coach Robb Akey and the Vandals aren’t ones to shy away from risky plays.

The squad proved it last year with a stunning two-point conversion in the Humanitarian Bowl victory over Bowling Green, and it was cemented again this weekend as the Vandals torched the No. 4 passing team in the nation, taking down Western Michigan 33-13.

“Boy, we are smiling again,” Akey said. “We are back to feeling good about things again.”

The game saw Idaho’s defense roll over Western Michigan quarterback Alex Carder and Enderle and the offense sync up for three touchdowns, but the specialty teams and gutsy play-calling stole the show.

With the game tied 3-3 in the second half, Idaho’s offense sputtered to a stop. Facing a fourth-and-13 situation, Akey decided to break the game open. Setting up to punt, Idaho instead put the ball in the hands of safety Shiloh Keo, who caught the WMU Broncos off guard and sprinted 35 yards into WMU territory.

“It was fourth and forever and the coaches looked at me like ‘hey, you know, if it’s there…’, they wanted me to make the decision,” Keo said.

“Sure enough, it was wide open like I thought it would be and we were able to get some big yardage. It felt like I had a punt return to the house because I had to run all the way down (the field).”

Enderle did the rest — on the next play, the senior quarterback tossed a perfectly-placed 30-yard pass to Kama Bailey for Idaho’s first touchdown and a lead the Vandals wouldn’t relinquish.
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Photo Gallery: Idaho soccer vs. Portland State

1 Oct

Kate Kucharzyk provides a visual look at the University of Idaho soccer squad’s 3-2 win over Portland State on Tuesday. The Vandals are off to their best start in school history with a 9-3 record.

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Photo Gallery: Vandal Volleyball falls to Cal Poly

10 Sep

The University of Idaho volleyball team fell to Cal Poly in their home opener and Argonaut photographer Kate Kucharzyk provides us a visual look at the game for those who couldn’t make it. Kudos to Kate for sharing them with us.

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Looking for a repeat

26 Mar

A hail-mary with under a minute left. An amazing catch. A two-point conversion — and it’s good. The Vandals storm the field and celebrate.
Sound familiar?

That inspiring win at the Humanitarian Bowl over Bowling Green was the last time Vandal fans saw their rags-to-riches football team in action.

The cold weather of that fateful day has been forgotten, replaced by the warm rays of the sun and chirping of birds. Spring has arrived, the turf outside the Kibbie Dome beckons – and Idaho football coach Robb Akey wouldn’t like it any other way.

“It’s almost time to have fun again,” Akey said with a huge smile on his face. Continue reading

Victory on the hard court.

4 Feb

It was a situation which the Vandals have found themselves in almost too many times for Idaho coach Jon Newlee to count. With under two minutes remaining, the Vandals held a slim lead over Nevada, ranked second in the WAC, and were coming out of a time-out after Nevada sunk a big shot and looked on the verge of breaking even.

“What was going in my head (during the time-out) was we have been in this position so many times,” Newlee said. “I told the players ‘we are going to close this one out and we are winning this ball game and not giving it away.'”

They Vandals didn’t disappoint.

After heartbreaking losses to La Tech in overtime and Utah State at the end of regulation, the Vandals finally clamped down and held Nevada, whose only loss was to unbeaten Fresno State, to a measly 26 percent shooting in the second half, including an abysmal 18 percent from three-point range as Idaho brought down Nevada by a score of 61-53.

“The first thing I said (to the team) is that I am so happy to not be standing here and saying we gave another game away,” Newlee said. “I am proud of the way the team responded throughout the close games and the breaks have finally started to come our way.”

The entire game was a see-saw affair, with eight lead changes as both teams traded punches early, with Idaho entering halftime down by one point. The Vandals turned up the heat in the second, out-shooting Nevada for a eight-point lead with under two minutes to go before Nevada’s Tahnee Robinson nailed a perfect three to bring Nevada within striking distance at 57-52.

“When she (Robinson) banked in that three, I thought, well, here we go again,” Newlee said. “It was the same as in San Jose, when they banked in a three from the top and, well there you go.”

Instead of folding, the Vandals came out of the huddle and played arguably their best defense of the year — Nevada would get just one point in the next two minutes, off a free-throw.

Rachele Kloke said the team took the best parts of their game against La Tech and worked on transition play.

“It feels amazing,” Kloke said. “Nevada is a great team — it was a big win for us and it will give us more momentum.”

The Vandals, despite being out-matched size-wise in almost every game, have hung in with the best in the conference, losing their past their past three games by single digits. Newlee said the team played hard but the breaks just never seemed to happen for the team until tonight.

“Char’s layup was a great example — it hung on the rim and went in,” Newlee said. “All year, that ball has been hanging on the rim and coming off.”

The Vandals took their high-pressure defense, which was so effective against La Tech, and applied it to Nevada to hold them to a paltry 34 percent shooting from the floor.

On the other end, Idaho nailed 44 percent of their shots and an astounding 41 percent from three-point range.

Idaho was once again led by Rachele Kloke, who tallied up 17 points along with six rebounds. Yinka Olorunnife was a force at both ends, tallying 15 points for the Vandals cause as well as shutting down Nevada’s top scorers, and Shaena Kuehu rounded out the Vandals top-three with 12 points as well as leading the team with 8 rebounds.

“Sometime you feel like that black could is over your head,” Newlee said. “But you have to make your own luck with effort and playing smart, and I thought we did that tonight.”

The Vandals have an entire week to study film and work on their game before heading to California with a showdown against unbeaten Fresno State, which sits firmly in first place in the WAC.

Women fight back, tie game, but lose heartbreaker to Utah State

27 Jan

The Vandals came out of the time-out pumped and ready to defend. The clock read nine seconds, and the score was tied 55-55. Nine seconds — it was all that separated Idaho from an overtime period against Utah State.

“He (Idaho coach Jon Newlee) told us to stay with the players, don’t foul, and contend shots,” said junior post Yinka Olorunnife. “We were very confident that we were headed into overtime.”

Utah State worked their way down to the Vandals zone, trying to exploit an opening. There was none to be had. As the clock winded down, the ball found its way to the hands of Utah State’s TaHara Williams, who had not missed a shot all night.

She faked a shot, twirled around an Idaho defender and let loose a jump-shot as time expired. Fans held their breath as Williams’s shot sailed overhead towards the basket, arching perfectly in the air before falling through the hoop.

Then there was silence.

With that silence, Idaho dropped to 2-4 in the WAC, losing in heartbreaking fashion to Utah State by a final score of 57-55.

“It’s devastating,” Olorunnife said. ” One possession losses really get to you, but to lose at the buzzer, yeah… it’s the worst.”

The bitter loss comes after a valiant comeback from the Vandals, who dug themselves a hole early yet came back to tie at halftime and keep the second half competitive, in a game where there was very little to fault for the loss. The Vandals shot a respectable 45 percent from the floor, more than doubled Utah State on points off turnovers and tied for point in the paint.

“The very good teams make the plays at the end,” Newlee said. “You got to make your own luck — we didn’t get the loose balls and we didn’t make our own luck tonight.”

Newlee said he was proud of his squad for battling back from several deficits, and said he feels the team is a much-improved team over the squad at the start of the conference season.

The game was the first action for Debbie Pederson, who joined the team in late December and has been practicing ever since, but had yet to see game time. Pederson said she was working on adjusting to the pace of college basketball and learning the plays, but was happy to get out on to the court.

“I was trying not to get nervous and trying to stay calm and play,” Pederson said. “I just wanted to come in and help out the team as much as I could.”

Pederson played seven minutes and tallied her first two points of her college basketball career on free-throws, along with getting two defensive rebounds.

Newlee said he was impressed with the way Pederson played, despite acknowledging the fact that he has to limit the amount of plays they can do with her.

“I thought she did a great job, battled hard, and held her own against their (Utah State’s) big kids,” Newlee said. “I told her before the game to be mentally ready to play — I was very happy with the way she played tonight.”

At 6’3″, Pederson is the tallest player in Vandal uniform to see action this season along with fellow 6’3″ teammate Ally Sisel-Kumpfer. She adds some much-needed strength and height for the Vandals.

There is little time to grieve for the Vandals, who square off against Louisiana Tech on Saturday before coming home for a grudge-match against Nevada.

Butch Otter proclaims Idaho Vandals Football Day

16 Jan

In celebration of Idaho’s spectacular Humanitarian Bowl victory, Gov. Butch Otter came to Moscow yesterday to unveil a proclamation making Jan. 23 “Idaho Vandals Football Day” throughout the state of Idaho. We were there, and have complete video coverage:

We also talked with coach Robb Akey about using the momentum from the bowl win to establish a positive direction for the program.

Finally, University of Idaho president Duane Nellis on the interplay between athletics and academics.

Idaho overwhelmed against No. 8 Baylor

28 Nov

Still looking for their first win of the season, the Vandals were severely outclassed by No. 8 Baylor in the first game of the World Vision Classic tournament in Texas, losing 82-37.

“There’s a reason they’re ranked No. 8,” Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. “They definitely belong there.”

Idaho never really had a chance against Baylor’s depth and athleticism, despite an improved shooting percentage and good man-to-man defense.

The Vandals made their priority to shut down Brittney Griner, a 6-8 freshman and star for Baylor. Idaho was successful in limiting Griner to a season-low six points, but Baylor had too many other weapons. Griner was contained but Baylor’s Melissa Jones, a junior guard, ran unchecked and piled on 23 of Baylor’s 82 points.

Baylor’s bench and other starters did the rest, and Idaho simply couldn’t keep up. Idaho never led in the game, and trailed 47-22 at halftime.

Despite the loss, Newlee was impressed with Idaho’s play against a stronger team. The Vandalss never gave up and played hard the entire game.

“Our goal was to play hard for 40 minutes today, and we did,” Newlee said.

Despite being outclassed, Idaho did not go down without a fight in the first half, shooting 33 percent from the field and drilling 5-18 from the three-point line.

Junior guard Bianca Cheever led Idaho as the only player in the double-digits with 11 points, including 3-6 from the three-point line. Freshman Kanisha Bello had an outstanding game, putting up a career-high 8 points, and shooting 50 percent from the floor.

Newlee continued to get a feel for his players, using the third different starting lineup in as many game, as well as playing bench players, in an effort to find a cohesive unit.

“There are going to be a lot of different lineups,” Newlee said. “It’s only four games into the year and we’ve got to get the old players clicking with the new ones and sometimes it takes longer than you’d like.”

Idaho will get no easy break, as they face Lamar this afternoon, and close out the tournament against Louisiana-Lafayette, both strong teams, Newlee said.

“We’re going to see how tough we are in the next two games,” Newlee said. “Our goal is to play hard for 40 more minutes tomorrow and get ourselves a win.”

Idaho mauled by Bulldogs

16 Nov

In their season opener at home, the Vandals were downed by poor shooting and spotty defense, in an 80-57 loss to Gonzaga.

“Let’s go Vandals” was the cheer which emanated from the mouths of every member of the Vandal band and audience in Memorial Gym as Idaho won the jump ball to start the game. As customary, the band kept cheering until a Vandal player scored the first point for their team.

For two and a half long minutes the band cheered.

Idaho’s slow start set the tone early, and in the end their inability to connect shots buried them.

Consider this: The Vandals shot an anemic 27 percent from the court over the course of the game. The Vandals didn’t fare much better at the free-throw line, clocking in at 47 percent.

“That’s the worst that a team I’ve coached has shot from the free-throw line — ever,” Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. “We even shot 300 extra free throws this week, so I don’t know.”

The Vandals managed to lead the game only twice, early in the first half. By the mid-point of the game, however, their advantage had been buried by the blitzing transitional play of the Bulldogs. Idaho didn’t register a point for an 11-minute stretch during the first half, and trailed 32-22 at halftime, a deficit they would never recover.

“I thought we came out, competed, and played pretty good,” Newlee said. “But we missed 13 lay-ups that we charted on the bench, and it just deflates a team when you don’t make lay-ups — those cost us.”

The Vandals played improved defense, Newlee said, but were no match for Gonzaga’s play under the basket. The Vandals never found their groove in rebounding, allowing Gonzaga recover time after time.

“The lack of our box-out really hurt us,” Newlee said. “We got into a jumping contest with them, and obviously we are going to lose that — they are big, athletic and talented physically.”

Idaho went on a brief hot streak at the start of the second to pull within 7 points, but the offense sputtered again, going over six minutes without scoring during which time Gonzaga piled on 15 points, which put the game out of reach for the Vandals.

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Idaho Vandals soccer eliminated from WAC championships

30 Oct

Sunday’s game against Hawaii will be the last game of the season for the Idaho Vandals soccer squad, who have been eliminated from the Western Athletic Conference championship today.

Idaho sat in seventh place after back-to-back losses last weekend, and needed help in a big way to qualify for the WAC championship. Idaho needed Boise State to lose both games this weekend, and Idaho also needed a win against Hawaii in their “senior day” game on Sunday.

All of that is now inconsequential, as Boise State’s 2-1 comeback victory tonight eliminated the Vandals from the WAC championships. Instead of playing for a chance at the WAC championship, the Vandals will have to settle for a chance to finish the season with a winning record. The Vandals are currently 9-8-3.

Hawaii, which was playing at Boise, got on the board first, and after the first half, seemed destined to win with a strong controlling play. Back-to-back goals for the Broncos, one on a penalty kick in the 67th minute and a go-ahead goal in the 76th, spoiled Hawaii’s chances.

Idaho’s game on Sunday will be the last game for seniors Ashley Perez, Anna Sandman, Sari Morrison and Lydia Beyerlein. A short ceremony will occur fifteen minutes before kick-off, which is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Idaho breaks 11 year drought; wins Governors’ Cup.

8 Sep

When University of Idaho soccer coach Pete Showler said he wanted his team to go out and “play our game” this past weekend, he couldn’t have dreamed of a better result.

Despite being chosen to finish near the bottom of the conference, the Vandals roared into the tournament, winning against the Idaho State Bengals, 2-1, in a thrilling come-from-behind victory, and dominating the Montana Grizzlies, 1-0, to capture the Governors’ Cup. The last time the Vandals won the Governors’ Cup was in the tournament’s first year in 1998.

In addition to capturing the elusive cup, the Vandals got plenty of individual recognition, having four of their players named to the all-tournament team. Sophomore defender Desirae Hull, freshman forward Chelsea Small and freshman midfielder Cassandra San were honored and senior Sari Morrison was named as the tournament MVP.

“I’m pleased we got four players in there, plus Sari’s MVP,” said Showler in a university press release. “It was nice to have a great team performance, to have the team get a couple wins, and to have individuals recognized because of those wins.”

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