With spring football just a couple of weeks away, Idaho head coach Chris Tormey has put together the finishing touches on his staff and the 1998 recruiting class.
Quarterbacks coach Phil Earley has been elevated to offensive coordinator/ quarterbacks coach. Running backs coach Todd Hoiness has been moved to offensive line. The new running backs coach is Jim Mastro, who previously assisted at San Jose State and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
UI has added three three transfers from Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. They are defensive tackle Mao Niko (6-foot-2, 310 pounds), tight end Lincoln Mihaere (6-3, 230) and offensive lineman Cleve Aiono (6-2, 280).
Earley replaces George Yarno, who left for Houston.
“Phil was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Cal Poly,” Tormey said. “His teams were consistently in the top 10 in the country in I-AA in total offense.”
Hoiness moves to the line after six years with the running backs.
“Todd probably has as good an understanding of what we’re doing offensively as any coach on our staff,” Tormey said.
Mihaere caught 19 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns last season. Niko had 10 solo tackles, 22 assists, one interception and one fumble recovery in eight games. Aiono earned second-team all-conference honors.
Idaho has its first soccer players with the signing of four to letters of intent.
Larry Foster, coach of the first-year program, unveiled his first class with commitments from transfers Danielle DeFord and Sacha Martin, and high school seniors Maegan Levinthal and Jaclyn Pelton.
“This is a great foundation group,” said Foster, who came to Idaho from Central Washington University. “It’s given me strength in the goal where I need it. It’s given me strength and experience in the middle of the field. All three field players are incredibly versatile.”
Foster coached DeFord and Martin when he was the head coach at CWU. He said their leadership and experience will be invaluable as the Vandals begin their first year as an intercollegiate program.
Martin, a Hanford High graduate, is a goalkeeper. DeFord was a utility player last year at CWU but is expected to settle into a central midfield role this fall.
DeFord is a Lakes High graduate. She also played on the 1996 national club championship team, the F.C. Royals.
Pelton graduates from Spokane’s Mead High School this spring. She was first-team all-Greater Spokane League last fall for Mead’s state runner-up team.
Levinthal is from Lake Washington High School in Redmond, Wash. She was all-KingCo honorable mention last fall.
The Vandals debut in September.