A Haven to Call Home

Boise State is not a secret any more. The Broncos are now attracting high school recruits of the highest academic and athletic quality. Why are some of the top athletes in the United States now coming to Boise State? One need not look further than the city of Boise itself.

When deciding among several universities, a high school student-athlete considers a variety of factors personal to them. Included might be the quality of team, the quality of education in the major field the recruit is interested in, the quality and character of the head coach and his staff, the personalities of returning players, the chance to play early and the coaching style and how it fits into the position that the recruit wants to play.

What about location?

It is here that Boise State beats nearly all other universities hands-down, for it has the distinction of being located in the city judged just last month by Money magazine as the eighth best place in America to live. The capital city has won a plethora of awards from different publications over the years, and has been in the top five of the Money list before. Its one thing to be ranked in that list once; the most recent ranking cements Boise as consistently one of the top places to live. Further, it shows that growth has not harmed Boise's reputation as it has other cities.

This is a major reason why recruits that become Boise State Broncos choose to call Boise their new home after they graduate. These former Broncos will be profiled in a later feature of the 30-Day Countdown on Bronco Country. Suffice it to say for now that job growth is crucial to sustaining any population growth and also a key factor in the Money magazine survey. Idaho has proven that by leading the nation in job growth over the last year. The state created 31,000 new non-farm jobs during the yearlong period ending in June, according to the Idaho Department of Commerce and Labor. The 5.1% increase in jobs dwarfs the national average of 1.4 percent.

According to Inc. magazine, which puts Boise in the No. 2 spot in their annual ranking of the best places for doing business in America, the economies of most big cities are idling.

"The dynamic, job-generating information-technology and service companies that characterized the boom of the 1990's are still around. But it's harder to find them in the usual high-tech clusters like Silicon Valley, Boston and Austin. Instead, those companies are now thriving in places like Boise, Idaho."

The article in Inc. discusses the factors that are leading to this shift in desirable business cities:

"Take Boise. Nestled at the base of the foothills, the city has long been known for its astonishing scenery and outdoor recreational opportunities. But in recent years, Boise has undergone a transformation. Since 2001, the number of information jobs in the area has jumped 5.9%. Professional business services jobs have grown 9.1%, and the financial services sector has grown more than 11.3%. By contrast, San Jose, in the heart of Silicon Valley, has experienced a 23% drop in information jobs, a 21.5% loss in business services jobs, and a 2.2% loss in financial services positions over the same period."

Housing prices in Boise are as much as 75% lower than in the San Francisco Bay area, and 100% or more lower than those in the Los Angeles area, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Sperling's Best Places to Live looked at cities and towns with easy access to popular outdoor activities. They came up with a list of ten cities that rated high not only in closeness to outdoor activities, but also offered a balance of the best in education, housing, jobs, health, and arts and entertainment. Boise was named to this list of Top 10 Places to Live:

"Located on the Boise River, this city is nicknamed the "City of Trees." Just an hour's drive away lies the Boise National Forest, with 2.6 million acres of beautiful wilderness. Outdoor activities include cross-country and downhill skiing in the mountains, fishing in alpine lakes, hiking in the foothills, and float trips or whitewater rafting on the rivers. If you have tired muscles after all that exercise, you can soak away the pain in one of many hot spring pools in the national forest.

Boise boasts the benefits of a metropolitan city too. The capital and largest city in Idaho, Boise has a growing economy, with a forecast of excellent job growth. You'll find good medical services, affordable housing, and a low violent crime rate. If you're interested in cultural activities too, you'll find several museums, ballet, opera, and a philharmonic orchestra."


Other honors Boise has received include:

"Best Place for Business and Careers" (Forbes, 2005)

"One of the Nation's 10 Best Places to Live" (Outside magazine, 1992)

"One of the Safest Cities" (Washington Post, 1991)

"One of the Top 18 Most Livable Cities" (The Livable Cities Almanac, 1992)

"One of the Top 19 Cities in America to Start and Grow a Business" (Inc. magazine, 1999)

"No. 13 Best Overall City (National Policy Research Council's Gold Guide, May, 2004)

Idaho Ice World "One of the Coolest Rinks in America" (American Hockey magazine, 2004)

"Boise's Sportstown USA" (Sports Illustrated, 2004)

Boise Parks & Recreation "Magnet Center for Quality Sports" (National Recreation & Parks Association, 2004)

"Oasis for Retirees" (Wall Street Journal, 2004)

"Jewel of the West" (Travel Tips magazine, 2004)

"One of the Top 10 Most Active Places to Live" (Modern Maturity, 2000)

"No. 1 Mountain Biking Town (Bike magazine, June 2003)

Boise River named "One of West's Top Rivers" (Sunset magazine, June 2003)

"One of the Top Five U.S. Regional Economies" (Forbes, 2000)

"No. 4 in Best Places to Walk in America" (May, 2006)


Yes, its no wonder top recruits are flocking to play at Boise State. Besides being one of the elite football teams over the last four years, these top high school athletes see the value of playing in and later living in Boise. You might call the capital city "Boise State's Jewel".

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