Idaho football interim coach Jason Gesser and Athletic Director Rob Spear discuss the replacement of former coach Robb Akey, expectations for the remainder of the 2012 season and the Vandals’ coaching outlook in the future.
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 —
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.
— #itsallforKEN#⃣3⃣ (@vandalsQB3) October 21, 2012
Akey was the glue that held us together. I can say as a team we played for him. Not even for ourselves.We love Akey we need Akey #akeyarmy
— Taylor J Elmo (@TjMO81) October 21, 2012
Wishing nothing but the best for Coach Akey. Great coach/mentor who truly cared for his players. Still a lot of coaching left in him I hope.
— Nathan Enderle (@nenderle) October 21, 2012
Wish Coach Robb Akey the best. Idaho won bowl game in 09, Vandals became our “official” team. Been a rough stretch for a good guy. #Nolte
— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) October 21, 2012
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.
During the Vandal radio network post-game show of Idaho’s loss at Texas State, Idaho athletic director Rob Spear said Idaho currently has 11 games lined up so far the 2013 season.
Spear said in the interview with Tom Morris he had 12 games lined up as recently as last Friday Oct. 12, but that one school had to pull out. Spear could come out the with the schedule as soon as the next week or two when he gets the 12th game, and likely wouldn’t be announced until the scheduling contracts are actually signed.
That schedule could include a home-and-home with Arkansas State, as reported by Scout.com’s AStateNation, citing Arkansas State’s athletic director. Spear said a contract for that game has not been signed, according to the Idaho Statesman. If the AStateNation report is true, Idaho would play at Arkansas State in 2013 and at the Kibbie Dome in 2014.
Currently, the Vandals have four confirmed scheduled games for both 2013 and 2014, but have only one home game for those seasons so far. Idaho needs five home games each of those seasons to abide by NCAA rules for being an FBS football program.
Along with the home game scheduled against North Illinois in 2013, Idaho is likely to play New Mexico State and an FCS school at the Kibbie Dome, in addition to making a return trip to New Mexico State in the same year.
Idaho is allowed to schedule an FCS school to count towards its required five home games. If needed, Idaho would also be able to schedule a game at Pullman’s Martin Stadium or Spokane’s Joe Albi Stadium and have that be considered one of its five home games.
We’ll have more as it comes available.
Idaho 2013 schedule:
Aug. 31 – at Ole Miss
Sep. 07 – at Wyoming
Sep. 14 – v Northern Illinois
Sep. 21 at Washington State
Not confirmed: at Arkansas State, v New Mexico State, at New Mexico State
Idaho 2014 schedule:
Aug. 30 – at Florida
Sep. 13 – v Western Michigan
Sep. 20 – at Ohio
TBA – at Northern Illinois
Not confirmed: v Arkansas State, v New Mexico State, at New Mexico State
The future of University of Idaho football may be no more clearer today than it was last week. But Athletic Director Rob Spear assured Vandal Nation and other media members in a conference call today that the athletic department will continue their ongoing process to find the best possible situation for Vandal football and athletics as a whole with an “emphasis on maintaining our FBS status.”
“I have received a series of emails. People are concerned,” Spear said. “What I have told them is that we have been resilient; we will continue to be resilient. We are going to land on our feet. No matter the outcome, the University of Idaho is going to be fine.”
Idaho will need that resilience, since a resolution doesn’t seem likely to be coming any time soon.
By this time next year the Western Athletic Conferences will, in all likeliness, cease to exist as a football playing conference and Idaho is one of only two schools that still hasn’t found a home yet. Idaho made a concerted effort to join their peers in the new look Mountain West, but was ultimately shown the cold shoulder.
University of Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear addressed the media on Friday in a teleconference discussing UI’s future after five WAC schools left the conference earlier in the day.
Texas State University has accepted a bid to join the Sun Belt conference in 2013-2014 the schools’ official website reported this morning.
The University of Texas System Board of Regents is also reported to be voting today on Texas-San Antonio’s bid to Conference-USA.
Both Texas State and UTSA will be joining the WAC as football members in 2012-2013, which will apparently be their only season in the conference.
With two weeks to go before college football kicks off, the sudden disintegration of the Western Athletic Conference has woken up sportswriters and bloggers from their fall camp reverie. We’ve got a compilation of the best (and bizarrest) writing on the WACsplosion.
- The latest-breaking development? Utah State confirms it, too, was approached by the MWC and offered membership — before either Fresno State or Nevada. But with honor and commitment, the Aggies refused to betray the WAC. Everyone left in the conference should consider USU their heroes. They rejected self-interested sabotage, and I hope they, and we, come out ahead for it.
- Sam Wasson’s BleedCrimson.net has a great rundown of this morning’s press conference with Karl Benson.
- SWX has a story on Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear’s press conference this afternoon. In short, Idaho is “committed” to staying with the WAC, come hell and high water. KXLY’s Ben Kaplan provides his take, too.
- ESPN’s Pat Forde examines the brutal history of the MWC and WAC’s “conference cannibalism.” Ray Ratto has similar thoughts at CBSSports.com.
- San Jose State is left in limbo, Jon Wilner writes in the Mercury News. Join the club, says Louisiana Tech — most damningly, the Bulldogs’ AD all but invites his program to be poached by another conference, preferably C-USA. Stephen Tsai of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser says Hawaii should quit the WAC and go independent.
- Whither BYU? Good question, as Cougar AD Tom Holmoe provides only cryptic answers to the Deseret News. “Things are playing out” indeed.
- Could Sacramento State and UC Davis save the WAC? That’s what the Sacramento Bee’s John Schumacher is wondering. The more Aggies the merrier, I suppose.
- Nevada got an offer it couldn’t refuse, or so says Scott Sonner. Yet Utah State did refuse it. Hmm.
- Silver and Blue Sports has a report on Nevada’s move up to the MWC. The Reno Gazette-Journal’s Chris Murray examines how the move might affect Wolf Pack programs.
- The Fresno Bee’s Dan Lyght and Bryant-Jon Anteola have a whole slew of stories on the Bulldogs’ jump to the MWC.