Many people are familiar with the combination of weather factors leading to "A Perfect Storm" and the movie starring George Clooney from the year 2000. A confluence of factors is well in place now for "A Perfect Bronco Storm". What we're about to see is the greatest time in Boise State history. Consider the following:
With Boise being Idaho's capital city, the government hub and a magnet for business, the local economy has flourished and the city has attracted considerable wealth. Boise has more millionaires per capita than any city in the nation.
Plans are well in place to drastically increase the number of master's and doctorate degrees at Boise State. Increasingly, Boise State is attracting better and better teachers and these facts in turn have led to a dramatic increase in the quality of students as well. This fall, the Boise State freshman class entered the university with the highest G.P.A. in the school's history.
The Bronco football team won the National Junior College Championship in 1958 and the I-AA National Championship in 1980. Last year, the Broncos won their 300th game as a four-year school, becoming the fastest college football team to accomplish the feat in the modern era. Just one game later, Boise State won its 500th game in the history of the school.
The phenomenal success of the football program and the free publicity and promotion of Boise State that it has generated has driven interest in Boise State. ESPN has taken notice of this success and has featured Bronco football games repeatedly in national telecasts. Sales of Boise State merchandise featuring the Bronco logo have soared, as Bronco sales have now moved into the top 50 in the nation.
Boise State has begun an extensive expansion of facilities, both academically and athletically, that will continue well into the future. This massive expansion fits the vision of President Bob Kustra that will enable Boise State to become a Metropolitan Research-Based University of Distinction.
Boise for years has been one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, now ranked well within the Top 100 U.S. cities for population. Now, the Treasure Valley has four cities (Eagle, Meridian, Nampa and Kuna) with growth percentages that rank in the top ten.
Boise has attracted strong industry growth in the computer industry. As one of the hottest job markets today with a vast potential, Boise is well positioned for the jobs of the future, ensuring a vibrant local economy and the computer companies necessary to tap into that potential. The tremendous population growth will help keep Boise somewhat insulated from any national economic downturns.
Boise has consistently been named by national publications as "One of the Best Places to Raise A Family", "One of the Safest Places to Live" and recently by Prevention Magazine as "One of the Best Places to Walk". These are all factors that people consider when deciding where to relocate or retire.
Boise State has begun to build a strong academic reputation, winning several awards for academic excellence, including a long tradition of awards for its student newspaper, The Arbiter, engineering awards and most recently, the Speech and Debate National Championship.
Growth in memberships in the Bronco Athletic Association and season football ticket sales is meteoric. This year, all available seats in Bronco Stadium are expected to be taken by season ticket holders.
As Bronco Stadium is bulging at the seams with football fans, plans are well underway for a massive expansion of Bronco Stadium that will soon take it from a capacity of 30,000 to over 65,000. The first phase will begin following the completion of this fall's football season, with a state-of-the-art new press box and media facility as well as luxury suites that are already sold out and sky boxes. The next phase will not only bring football attendance to 42,000 but will also bring Bronco fans closer to the field with the lowering of the field. That phase is planned to be completed by 2010. Then, Bronco Stadium will be built into a Horseshoe to hold 50,000 and then finally, made into a bowl shape that will seat 65,000-plus.
As mentioned on the Blue Turf Board, Idaho stands to gain the most from the coming retirement of the baby boom generation. The greatest influx of people in state history will occur over the next 15 years as these baby boomers, reaching retirement age, will sell their expensive homes in California for huge profits and use those proceeds to pay cash for bargain homes in Idaho that are newer and better than the ones they currently own in California.
Developers in Boise have the same information referred to above and are licking their chops as they await the retiring baby boomers. Massive home building has already been occurring in Meridian, Nampa, Eagle, Kuna, parts of Boise as well as other area towns.
Boise announced yesterday that five developers that own land south of the airport are about to begin a massive development of 15,000 acres. They know about the coming baby boom retirement phenomenon and are well prepared. The news yesterday indicates that Boise has made the decision to expand south towards Mountain Home, ensuring continued growth and a vibrant community for Idaho's capital city.
Boise recently passed a $94 million bond issue that will build or remodel elementary, junior high and high schools throughout the city. New schools attract new families and in addition to being a haven for the new retirees, Boise is also positioned to attract younger families, the key component in secure, established growth.
Boise State has been fortunate to enjoy continuity in its athletic programs, due to the long tenure of legendary Lyle Smith and current Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier, who is in his 28th year at the university. Bleymaier has done it the right way--he's run a clean program and consistently hired coaches that are not only good at what they do, but are good people and good role models. The families of recruits couldn't be happier when their son or daughter chooses Boise State for they know that young person will learn in class and on the field in a good environment.
Boise State now has some of the best coaches in their history at every sport that the university sponsors. Football coach Chris Petersen has been a finalist for National Assistant Coach of the Year. Basketball coach Greg Graham came to Boise State from an emerging and respected Oregon program. Women's basketball coach Gordy Presnell is a legend for his phenomenal success at Seattle Pacific and he is now leading the Broncos. Tennis coach Greg Patton is respected throughout the nation for his teaching ability and enthusiasm. Greg Randall was a big contributing factor in Coach Mike Young's great success with the wrestling squad and he now is the head man. Kevin Burton continues to build the Boise State golf team. Coach Sam Sandmire is also widely respected in gymnastics circles for producing winners. Mike Maynard has built the Boise State track and field team into a national power in the field events and that is now spreading to the running events as well. Coach Steve Lucas of the women's soccer team has a magnetic personality that has attracted great soccer players to Boise State.
Boise State has substantially beefed up its commitment to providing summer scholarships. Members of the Blue and Orange Club raised $75,000 this past year for the Summer Scholarships program. In addition to the popular "Saddle Up" program, the Special Events Committee at Boise State has now taken up Summer Scholarships as one of its goals and hopes to raise close to $175,000 this year and fully fund summer scholarships for all student-athletes in all sports in 2007. It is not coincidental that this commitment to summer scholarships has preceded the success referred to below.
Bleymaier's plan is now paying off big-time for Boise State. The number of sports that are not nationally ranked are few and disappearing. The Boise State football team was one of only eight in the nation to finish in the Top 15 from the years 2002-2004. The gymnastics team has been nationally ranked for years and has reached the NCAA Regional Tournament 19 years in a row. The wrestling team, which competes in the PAC-10, has also been a national player for years, and this year saluted Ben Cherrington as its second national champion. The Boise State men's tennis team also has moved to the forefront, getting as high as #2 in the nation in 1998. With the return of Coach Greg Patton, the head of the national juniors program in the United States before coming back to Boise State, the Broncos are poised for a legitimate shot at a national title once again. Now, the women's tennis team is following suit and is rocketing up the national rankings. Maynard's team was ranked in the top 25 all of last year and should improve upon that this year.
The above factors will have an incredible effect on Boise State in the next 15 years. If nothing else happens, the university will continue to experience record enrollments, academic excellence and prestige, a substantial increase in donations, and a high level of athletic success, conference championships and a few national championships.
If Boise State fans and boosters step up at this critical time in the university's history, while the iron is red hot, the growth in Boise State University will be phenomenal. The school will experience success never seen before in its history. The Broncos will win national championships in every sport. Boise State will become an academic giant. Graduates will go on to be CEO's of major companies, United States Senators, diplomats and possibly even President of the United States. Boise State will achieve growth only seen by perhaps a handful of schools in the nation's history. Those just entering the Bronco family are fortunate for they will see all of this in their lifetimes. For those of us who are a little older, it gives us additional incentive to eat right, exercise, etc. so that we will get to experience the great Bronco times that lie just ahead of us.
All of the above factors are in place to create A Perfect Bronco Storm. We are very lucky to be Bronco fans at this point in history. I believe that the 21st century is the Century of the Broncos. 100 years from now, people will look at Boise State the way they currently do Alabama, Ohio State and Penn State. Boise State will be a national player in everything that they do. New residents of Boise are enthusiastically invited to join us for the ride. It is not to be missed!