From all of us at VandalVenue.com, we wish you all a safe, happy, and pleasant holiday season (image from the University of Idaho Arboretum).

It's been an amazing year at the ol' University of Idaho. For starters Idaho received a significant boost in optimism for the future of Vandal athletics as Idaho was invited to join the Western Athletic Conference in all sports starting with the 2005 season.

University of Idaho Archive
Idaho water tower view from the arboretum.
LINK: Invited to the WAC

Idaho also completed several LONG overdue facilities projects, including the following:

LINK: Iverson Strength and Speed Center

LINK: Football Locker Room

Tragically, Idaho athletics also experienced the painful loss of one of its athletes, redshirt freshman cornerback Eric McMillan. His image won't fade from our memories anytime soon, and we extend our best wishes to Eric's friends, and in particular his family, this holiday season.

As far as overall athletic performance this year, the football team continued to struggle for wins in 2004, but optimism surrounds the program under the leadership of 2nd year head coach Nick Holt and his staff going into the 2005 campaign. The men's basketball team got off to a woeful 1-8 record to start the '04-'05 season, then last night delivered what will likely be one of the biggest upsets of the Vandal season by knocking off Big West powerhouse Utah State in Moscow. The women's basketball team, with preseason All-American candidate Emily Faurholt, are looking solid again this season after a 2nd place Big West finish last year. The women's volleyball team made the NCAA Tournament an unprecedented 2nd time in a row as an AT-LARGE invitee this year, and under the leadership of head coach Debbie Buchanan they continue to develop into a powerful western volleyball program.

Among spring sports, Idaho men's track just signed a recruiting class that was ranked a gawdy 7th in the nation by Track and Field News (ahead of powerful Arkansas and UCLA, and just behind Texas, Florida State, and South Carolina). Men's and women's golf are looking solid this year, with the women being led by true freshman Renee Skidmore, who this month was named by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association as the Women's Player of the Year for 2004.

So, overall progress is being made and we want to congratulate the athletic department on all their accomplishments throughout this year. We know it hasn't been easy, and it certainly wasn't always pretty, but they've stayed the course and earned the opportunity for the University of Idaho to compete in the Western Athletic Conference in all sports.

A good 2004 by just about any measure, indeed.

Happy holidays to all....we're already looking forward to 2005!

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