Cruise Sets New Course for Seattle Vandals

With approximately 100 Vandal athletics fans and University of Idaho alumni on board, including coaching legend DENNIS ERICKSON, the 2nd Annual Coaches Cruise sailed last Saturday night. The event raised funds for the Vandal Scholarship Fund, enthusiasm for the 2006 football season, and excitement as Vandal Athletics prepares for growth in the future.

The Puget Sound Chapter of the Vandal Scholarship Fund hosted the 2nd annual Vandal Coaches Cruise last Saturday evening aboard Argosy's Lady Mary. Approximately 100 Vandal fans and University of Idaho alumni were on hand to celebrate the return of coaching legend Dennis Erickson to the Idaho program along with guests of honor Tom and Judy Morris, Dr. Rob Spear (Director of Athletics), and Rick Darnell (Executive Director of the Vandal Scholarship Fund).

Tom Morris, the "new" voice of the Vandals, served as the program emcee while Dr. Spear spoke of recent improvements to Idaho's athletic facilities. The Puget Sound Chapter of the VSF distributed laminated images showing before-and-after views of the weight room, practice fields, and football locker room projects. While acknowldeging the improvements of these facilities upgrades, Dr. Spear went on to describe the need for future facilities enhancements, including studies currently underway to explore expanding the ASUI/Kibbie Dome and build a basketball arena near the football stadium's western end.

Dennis Erickson addresses the crowd.

But the highlight of the evening was Idaho Head Football Coach Dennis Erickson, speaking to a captivated Vandal audience about his excitement to return to Idaho and "give back" to the institution where his illustrious coaching career began. He also made it clear that Nick Holt established a solid foundation during his brief tenure with the Vandals, and that more facilities changes are needed for Idaho to become competitive in the Western Athletic Conference. Coach Erickson also thanked many of the players in attendance, including Ron Branch (WR, '82), Tim McMonigle (PK, '81-85), and Shawn Jackson (center, '80-'84), whom he described as some of the players that helped to launch his career. The house was quiet as the coach spoke and interjected his dry witticisms, which produced rounds of laughter.

The Puget Sound Chapter of the VSF is proud to thank the sponsors of this Cruise:

Duane Rimel

Robie Russell

Attorney at Law

D. Andrew Lewis, DDS

Shawn M. Jackson

Red Cedar Partners

A&W Bottling Company

Universal Management Solutions

The speeches were followed by a short, but highly productive auction, which raised thousands for the Vandal Scholarship Fund.

The Puget Sound Chapter of the Vandal Scholarship Fund proudly thank the sponsors of this Cruise, all of the guests who made this event a terrific success, Coach Erickson and his family (many of whom were in attendance), and the dignitaries from the University of Idaho athletics program. The event exceeded expectations, and plans are already being established for next year's Cruise.

TOP BIDDERS - Many thanks to the Featherstones (Wray and Barbara), and to Jeritt Kent, each of whom out-bid everyone else for a Dennis Erickson signed football and a set of sideline passes.

2006 Coaches Cruise attendees, Main Deck (upper deck not shown).

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