Bronco Nation can breathe a sigh of relief today after reports surfaced on Friday that fourth-year basketball head coach Leon Rice had interviewed for the vacant coaching position at Washington State. A formal interview had been conducted earlier in the week that gave rise to speculation on Friday when both Rice and athletic director Mark Coyle were out of their offices and unavailable for comment.
It was almost a forgone conclusion that Rice would be leaving. Washington State is Rice’s alma matter and the position was a chance for him to return to Pullman, Washington as their head coach. Rice graduated from WAZZU in 1986.
But it was ESPN’s Andy Katz’s late night twitter feed that was the first to confirm that Rice was staying at Boise State:
Source: Boise State's Leon Rice decided to stay, accept pay raise, 5-year rollover instead of continuing talks w/Wazzu after interviewing.— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) March 29, 2014
Rice signed a contract extension with the Broncos a year ago, in April 2013, for $480,000 per year. It included bonuses and a 3 percent increase for each year. The details of this new five-year contract are unknown, but it will certainly include a pay raise to keep him in Boise. Washington State’s last coach made earned $850,000 per year and Washington State athletics director Bill Moss is on record that he would be willing to go higher than $1 million for the right candidate. In the four years Rice has been Boise State’s head coach, he has accumulated a 77-54 record that included three 20-win seasons and a trip last season to the NCAA Division I Tournament for only the sixth time in school history. That bid in 2013 was also the first at-large bid ever for the Broncos.
This season, Rice and the Broncos went 21-13 and lost to New Mexico in the semifinals of the Mountain West Tournament, finishing the season in a disappointing tie for fifth place in the conference.
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