Boise State to place Gene Bleymaier’s name on new football complex

By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman

Update: The State Board voted unanimously Thursday to approve the move. The facility will be called the Gene Bleymaier Football Complex.

“Danell and I want to thank Larry and Marianne Williams, and Jerry and Muriel Caven for this meaningful recognition,” Bleymaier said in a statement released by Boise State. “We are honored.”

“We are very proud to have the opportunity to contribute to the football complex. Under Gene’s leadership Bronco football became a household name throughout the country. He displayed remarkable vision, the highest integrity, passion for helping others, astute business sense and unwavering loyalty to the University and Boise community,” lead donors Larry and Marianne Williams and Jerry and Muriel Caven said in a statement released by Boise State.

Original post: Boise State plans to honor longtime, former athletic director Gene Bleymaier by putting his name on the new Bronco Football Complex, the school announced Wednesday.

Boise State will ask the State Board of Education for permission Thursday.

The idea came from lead project donors Larry Williams and Jerry Caven when they made their contributions in November 2010, according to the school.

Boise State Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier made decision to add blue turf at Bronco Stadium. The iconic turf was added in 1986.

Boise State Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier made the decision to add blue turf at Bronco Stadium. The iconic turf was added in 1986.

Bleymaier, now the athletic director at San Jose State, served as the Broncos’ athletic director for 29 years — overseeing the program’s rise to prominence and many of the facility upgrades that have helped sustain the football team’s recent success, including the football complex that is scheduled to open in July. Most famously, he installed the first blue turf.

But Bleymaier was fired in August 2011 in the wake of several NCAA violations, including a “lack of institutional control” charge.

“Besides enjoying unprecedented success on the field of play and in the classroom, Boise State athletics also significantly improved its facilities under Bleymaier’s direction,” Boise State Athletic Director Mark Coyle said in a statement.

Added President Bob Kustra, who fired Bleymaier: “Boise State owes a huge debt of gratitude to the Caven and Williams families for their ongoing generosity, and for suggesting this recognition of Gene’s work and accomplishments.”

The football complex behind the north end zone of Bronco Stadium will include 68,000 square feet of office and training space and cost $22 million.

The deal to build the football complex was finalized in January 2011, when coach Chris Petersen had been contacted by Stanford.

Kustra told the Idaho Statesman after he fired Bleymaier that he offered to let him resign and that his legacy would be celebrated in part through the naming of the football facility.

“I asked Gene to step down and suggested it would be best if he just said he was stepping down and no reasons were given and we’d be able to celebrate his years as athletic director and the naming of the football complex,” Kustra said then.

“He told me and his staff he wanted to be fired. He wanted that language to be used. He wanted to talk about the fact that it was for the compliance reason. People need to understand there were options here that weren’t chosen and I have no control over that.”

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Chadd Cripe has spent the past 12 years as the Boise State football beat writer. You can follow him on Twitter @IDS_BroncoBeat.

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