Leon Rice to remain at Boise State

Leon Rice to remain at Boise State

ROBBY MILO/THE ARBITER - Boise State men's basketball coach Leon Rice debuted with a 77-58 win over Montana Tech on Friday.
ROBBY MILO/THE ARBITER - Boise State men's basketball coach Leon Rice debuted with a 77-58 win over Montana Tech on Friday.

There will be no need for Boise State to begin a search to replace its second major head coach this year after the university reached an agreement with head coach Leon Rice to remain at the school for the next five seasons.

Sunday afternoon Rice made the decision to remove his name from the coaching search at his alma mater Washington State and stay with Boise State.

Rice recently interviewed with the Cougars earlier this week to replace Ken Bone who was fired following a 10-21 record this past season.

Washington State director of athletics Bill Moos was willing to pay Rice the average Pac-12 salary of $1 million annually, a vast increase of Rice’s former contract of just over $480,000 per year.

Rice’s new five year contract with Boise State will feature a $100,000 pay increase to $596,573 for the 2015 fiscal year according to a release from the Boise State Athletic Department. Rice’s salary will also increase by 3 percent over the remaining four years of the deal.

Boise State will automatically extend Rice’s contract by one year every season the Broncos win 18 or more games and earn a berth in the NCAA tournament under another new revision in the contract.

The new contract must still be approved by the Idaho State Board of Education before the deal becomes official.

Boise State athletic director Mark Coyle is excited to have retained the fastest coach in Bronco history to reach the 50 win mark.

“Leon Rice has done an outstanding job directing our men’s basketball program and we look forward to many more successful seasons,” Coyle said in a release from Boise State.  “We feel the best years of this program are ahead of us and we are very excited Leon will be leading our men’s team.”

Rice has gone 77-54 in his four—year tenure as the Broncos head coach after previously serving as an assistant at Gonzaga for 12 years.

The Broncos went 21-13 this past season and failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament despite high expectations for a team that returned all five starters from the previous seasons.

Despite the struggles, Rice spoke highly of the direction the program is headed through a press release.

“I am really excited for the future of Bronco basketball,” Rice commented. “There has been a great commitment to grow this program. There’s a commitment from our administration, our student-athletes and our fans. That’s what has me looking forward to continuing to build what we have here at Boise State.”