Boise State Hires Leon Rice As New Basketball Coach

March 26, 2010

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Boise State has hired former Gonzaga assistant Leon Rice to be the next head basketball coach.

Rice was introduced Friday as the seventh head coach in school history.

Rice is known as a skilled recruiter and is credited with helping Gonzaga earn 11 consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs have advanced to the round of 16 four times.

"Boise State is getting a great coach and an even better family into the greater Boise area," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said of losing his 11-year assistant. "I hope the fans and the community reach out and embrace them. He was the co-architect of this entire run (at Gonzaga) and a huge part of our success. We'll miss Leon, Robin and the kids greatly."

Making the postseason is a goal the Broncos have failed to meet consistently in the last decade, leading to the firing earlier this month of Greg Graham. In eight seasons, Graham compiled a 142-112 record and led the Broncos to the NCAA tournament two years ago.

"We are thrilled to have Leon heading our basketball program," said Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier. "His experience and expertise is exactly what we were looking for."

Rice joined the Bulldogs from Yakima Valley College where he served two seasons as an assistant coach and one as co-head coach with the legendary Dean Nicholson, then served as head coach for the 1998-99 campaign. YVC went from worst to first in the first season of the Rice-Nicholson partnership, and in 1999 YVC went 31-2 in capturing its fourth straight Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) Eastern Region title. The 31 wins were a school record and came four seasons after Rice and Nicholson inherited a program which had gone 3-20 overall during the 1994-95 season. YVC went a perfect 12-0 in the NWAACC in 1999 and Rice earned his second straight Eastern Region Coach of the Year honor.

 

 

He had previously coached at Northern Colorado and Oregon.

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