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Idaho Football

With Idaho football on bye week, here’s what former Vandals players and coaches have been up to

Idaho coach Paul Petrino watches his team during a Big Sky game against Eastern Washington on Oct. 16 in Cheney.  (Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review)
By Trevan Pixley Lewiston Tribune

LEWISTON – With the No. 10 Idaho football team on a bye week, let’s catch up with some former Vandals and see what they’ve been up to.

Paul Petrino, former head football coach

Petrino was the longest-tenured coach in Vandals football history, leading the team from 2013-21.

The skipper finished his career 34-66 overall, with his 66 losses being the most in program history.

It didn’t take long for Petrino to find work, taking over as offensive coordinator at Central Michigan in 2022.

The Chippewas finished as the MAC’s seventh-highest-scoring offense in 2022 with 24.8 points per game. They had the No. 4 rushing offense, averaging 160.4 yards per game.

In 2023, Central Michigan is 4-3 overall and again has the seventh-highest-scoring offense in the conference at 22.7 points per game.

Robb Akey, former head football coach

Petrino was Akey’s successor, and now they’re on the same staff at Central Michigan.

Akey had control of the Vandals from 2007-12 and led them to a 43-42 win over Bowling Green in the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl.

The Colorado Springs, Colorado, native was let go by the program after finishing 1-7 in 2012.

After a couple of temporary stops, Akey found a long-term home in Pleasant, Michigan, during the 2019 season.

The Chippewas’ defense has improved since Akey’s arrival, ranking in the top five in total defense from within the MAC every year.

In 2021, Akey’s defense helped Central Michigan to a 9-4 record, which earned them a spot in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl.

The Chippewas defeated Washington State 24-21 by registering five sacks and limiting the Cougars to 25 rushing yards.

Paul Moala, linebacker (2022)

Moala was a stalwart on the Vandals’ defense last year, finishing with 61 tackles and a team-high four interceptions. Following his stellar season, he entered the transfer portal and garnered interest from several Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

He ended up taking his talents to Georgia Tech, where he is fifth on the team in tackles with 25.

He’s also shown his big-play ability while in Atlanta, recording a forced fumble in the waning seconds against Miami to help his team steal a 23-20 win.

Kemari Bailey, defensive end (2022)

Much like Moala, Bailey was a big part of Idaho’s defense in 2022, registering a team-high five sacks.

The talented edge rusher was also able to garner some FBS interest while in the portal, landing on the Mountain West’s Fresno State.

Bailey has recorded eight tackles (three for loss), two sacks, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

Zach Borisch, quarterback/running back (2018-2022)

Borisch was a Vandals fan favorite, starting his career as a running back and finishing as quarterback.

His most memorable performance came during a 38-31 loss to Eastern Washington in 2020 in which he tallied more than 200 yards rushing as a quarterback.

He’s spending his final year of eligibility as a running back at East Tennessee State.

The Kennewick native is second on the team in rushing, picking up 203 yards on 41 carries.

J’Bore Gibbs, quarterback (2022)

Gibbs was the early favorite to win the starting quarterback job in 2022.

The South Dakota State transfer was the Missouri Valley Conference’s Newcomer of the Year in 2019. He suffered a season-ending injury the following year.

Upon his arrival in Moscow, he lost the QB battle to eventual Jerry Rice Award winner Gevani McCoy.

At the end of the season, Gibbs, again elected to enter the transfer portal, landing on the NCAA Division II’s Virginia Union.

The Chicago native did not win the starting job for the Panthers, and he has yet to play a snap.

Wyryor Noil DB (2018-22)

Noil was a solid player for Idaho’s secondary for the better part of three years. In his final season with the Vandals, he tallied 21 tackles and a pass deflection.

The Portland native entered the transfer portal at the conclusion of last season and is playing for Division II’s Central Missouri.

Noil has been the Mules’ best pass defender, registering a team-high four interceptions and nine pass breakups in seven games.

Zac Claus, former head men’s basketball coach (2019-23)

The Vandals head coach for the previous five seasons won’t be taking a year off.

Claus will be leading the Western Colorado Mountaineers, a Division II team based in Gunnison, Colorado.

Jon Newlee, former head women’s basketball coach (2008-23)

The Vandals mutually agreed to part ways with their coach of 15 years not long after the conclusion of last season.

As basketball season inched closer, it seemed likely that Newlee wouldn’t coach this year. But news broke Thursday that he would be the new head coach of the South Metro Pirates of the NBL1, a semi-professional league based in Australia.