I just want to say that both University of Idaho basketball coaches deserve to be let go from their jobs. Their performance over the last couple of years has been horrible, if not embarrassing.
During my tenure at the University of Idaho, 1990-1993, Idaho was always at the top of the Big Sky, drawing huge crowds, and always competing against bigger schools.
I remember a couple games in the Kibbie Dome where the University of Idaho played Washington State University and there were over 8,000 people in the Dome to watch the game. It might have been closer to 10,000, but not sure. It was fun and what a college experience should be watching a college basketball game.
The Dome was so loud for the games against Boise State, that you couldn’t even hear your friends speak. It was great!
But the basketball programs have been horrid the past several years and since Idaho has moved up to the WAC, they haven’t been able to compete against the likes of Washington State, Boise State, & Gonzaga. They can’t blame it on location because Washington State has done quite well in the recruiting arena and they are only 8 miles away.
George Pfeifer, the men’s coach, has replaced the men’s team each of the two off-seasons that he has been there and filled in with junior college transfers. That is no way to build a team or loyalty. You build a program by bringing in freshman and having them learn and grow. You might need to fill a niche here-or-there with a junior college transfer, but you don’t rely on building a team with them.
Mike Divilbiss, the women’s coach, has driven off his top players the last three years. This year, the teams number one scorer, sophomore Katie Madison, announced that she was leaving. That is just inexcusable. Something must be going on behind the scenes for these girls to want to leave. You need to treat them with respect and they will play. The girl’s team is a young team and were starting four freshman and a sophmore, but that is how it has been for the last few years.
Both Pfeifer and Divilbiss are good people and I have enjoyed speaking with them, but the time has come for them to move on. Idaho needs quality basketball coaches who are going to build the teams from the ground up, not fill-in with junior college transfers, and treat the players with respect.
The only thing that will hamper this decision is if the contract extensions that they were given are too much for the athletic program to absorb, Pfeifer has one more year and Divilbiss has two. I hope Athletic Director Rob Spear makes the right decision and brings in two good coaches who will take these two basketball programs to the next level.
To read more about this, check out this post on the Spokane Spokesman-Review sports blog.