This Day In Sports: Coyle loads the truck for Syracuse

June 19, 2015: After 3½ years at the helm at Boise State, athletic director Mark Coyle is announced as the new AD at Syracuse. Coyle had replaced the man who had been in the chair for 29 years, Gene Bleymaier, and was credited for keeping the Broncos ship on track. Two years into his tenure, Chris Petersen, the most successful football coach in school history (you can call him “legendary”), resigned to go to Washington. That resulted in Coyle’s one major hire: Bryan Harsin, the Boise native who would go on to lead the Broncos to a Fiesta Bowl championship in his first season.

Coyle, who came to Boise State from a deputy athletic director’s post at Kentucky, was largely out of the public eye during his time with the Broncos. But he did produce some of the best football scheduling coups in school history. Coyle arranged future home-and-home series with Virginia, Oklahoma State, Florida State and Michigan State. The first two sets of games went off without a hitch. The series against the Seminoles would have were it not for COVID (they got the first one in, the 36-31 Boise State win in Tallahassee in 2019). And the games against Michigan State were cancelled by current AD Jeramiah Dickey due to financial concerns.

With Bleymaier having set the table, Boise State athletics continued to excel academically with Coyle at the helm. Eighteen Broncos sports teams posted the highest grade-point averages in school history. Boise State also won 12 conference championships in six different sports during Coyle’s tenure. During the 2014-15 academic year, Boise State was the only FBS school in the country to win conference titles in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball.

Just four days after Coyle’s resignation, Curt Apsey, Boise State’s senior associate athletic director from 1998-2014, returned after an 8½-month stint as AD at Carroll College in Montana to replace him. Apsey, a renowned fundraiser, was key to a number of Boise State facilities upgrades, including the building of the Steuckle Sky Center. But the top position in the department wasn’t as good a fit, and he was forced to step down in October, 2021, to be replaced by Dickey. Coyle lasted less than a year at Syracuse and is now entering his eighth year as the athletic director at Minnesota.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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