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The Candidates

April 11, 2002

Gene Bleymaier

Boise State

athletic director, 21 years

A week ago Bleymaier unveiled a new school logo with a horse head and the script "Boise State Broncos" underneath--but most of his accomplishments involve substance.

Although Boise State is nowhere near the size of UCLA, fielding 17 sports on a $10-million budget, a quarter of the money goes toward a football program that upgraded from Division I-AA to Division I-A in 1996 and joined the Western Athletic Conference in 2001.

It is significant that he is the only external candidate from a school with Division I football and the team is 33-14 the last four years.

Boise State has played host to the first two rounds of the NCAA men's basketball tournament six times under Bleymaier and hosted the women's West Regional in March.

He was the driving force behind the 1997 creation of the Humanitarian Bowl, which the host Broncos won in 1999 and 2000.

Until this year, a knock on Bleymaier was that he had not fired a prominent coach. But in March he fired men's basketball coach Rod Jensen after a 13-17 season, replacing him with Oregon assistant Greg Graham, and forced the resignation of women's coach Trisha Stephens, replacing her with Colorado assistant Jen Warden.

Bleymaier has UCLA roots, playing tight end on the football team, graduating in 1975 and serving as assistant athletic director under J.D. Morgan while still in his 20s.

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