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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

State board votes unanimously to approve 5-year contract for new BSU athletic director

It took less than 10 minutes this afternoon for the state Board of Education to unanimously approve hiring Curt Apsey as BSU’s new athletic director, on a five-year contract with a base salary of $331,500. The pay and contract terms are virtually identical to those the state had with Apsey’s predecessor, Mark Coyle, who just left after three years to become athletic director at Syracuse.

Board member Rod Lewis said, “I think for the benefit of the board, for those close to the community, this will be viewed as a very good selection. Curt is very well respected in the community for the work that he has done with Boise State. I think there is a view that he is making a long-term commitment to the university, so I commend Boise State for their selection of Mr. Apsey as athletic director.”

Just like Coyle, Apsey will be eligible for incentive pay beyond his base both for academics and athletic achievement; academic incentive pay could range from $10,000 to $25,000, depending on performance, and athletic incentive pay could range from $5,000 for being in the top 60 to $15,000 for being in the top 25. There are additional incentives built into the contract for bowl game appearances; high grade-point averages for players; football division or conference championships; and achievement by men’s or women’s basketball, or women’s soccer, volleyball, gymnastics or softball teams.

If Apsey were to leave before the end of the five-year contract, he’d owe “liquidated damages” of $100,000 to $200,000 per year. That’s standard in such contracts; for example, when former head football Coach Chris Petersen left, the University of Washington, where he went, paid the liquidated damages to hire him away before his contract was out.

State board member Debbie Critchfield asked about the timing of Coyle’s departure and when BSU was notified. BSU President Bob Kustra said, “I received the call from Mark Coyle that Syracuse had offered him the position Friday evening, but in all fairness, it was no shock,” because Coyle was required to notify Kustra when he received contacts about possible new positions. “Mark has been very diligent about that, and weeks and weeks ago he notified me that two or three universities had contacted him,” Kustra said. “So even though Friday night is an awfully short time frame … I had a few weeks to think about what we would do if it happened, and thus the reason for the choice of Curt Apsey.”

Apsey’s new contract starts Aug. 1, and runs through July 31, 2020. The board vote to approve it was unanimous, 6-0.

Apsey, who was Boise State’s senior associate athletic director for 16 years, as well as interim director for four months in 2011, said in a BSU news release, “I couldn’t be more excited to be home.”

“Looking at the high level of performance across all sports on the field and in the classroom, it is clear that Boise State Athletics has never had a more promising future,” he said. “I look forward to working with our coaches, student-athletes, athletics leadership team and the university in continuing to build one of the most admired programs in the country.”

Kustra, in the same release, said,  “Curt is one of the main reasons Boise State University has achieved the incredible athletics success it has enjoyed for more than a decade. He understands how we got to where we are today, and knows where this university needs to go in the future. I know that our coaches, players, fans and supporters will be as glad as I am that he is back.”

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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