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Idahoans, tourists can visit Boise State’s blue turf for first time since pandemic began

·4 min read

Don Moe knows a thing or two about the history of Boise State football, and he’s excited to share it with the world again.

On Monday, Boise State will begin allowing visitors to tour the Allen Noble Hall of Fame and view the blue turf in Albertsons Stadium for the first time since it was closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be the first time any of the hall of fame’s 18 volunteers have guided a tour since Feb. 28, 2020.

“We’re really excited to get the community back in here,” Moe told the Idaho Statesman on Friday morning. “All of our volunteers are really knowledgeable. We just try to be friendly and answer any questions people have.”

Since volunteers began tracking it in 2016, Boise State’s hall of fame has attracted at least 16,000 visitors a year, Moe said. The actual number is probably double that because his figure is only including the hours that the volunteer tables are manned — 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It also doesn’t include tours during the school year and summer for students and prospective athletes.

The Allen Noble Hall of Fame is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There is no admission fee.

“Boise is a wonderful place, and there’s so much history with the football team,” Moe said. “People come from all over just to see the blue turf. Some just fly in for the day to see it.”

Since 2016, the hall of fame has attracted visitors from every state in the U.S. and 63 countries. Visitors aren’t allowed on the blue turf, but after learning about many of the top players, coaches and teams in Boise State history, they can snap all the pictures they want from the veranda — as long as the team isn’t on the field practicing.

Moe spent about 20 years visiting Boise from Southern California before moving here in 1985. The day he moved to town, his brother-in-law took him to the Boise State ticket office and signed him up for season tickets. He’s been a season-ticket holder ever since.

The 82-year-old doesn’t get to as many road games as he used to since his wife, Sue, began dealing with health issues, but Moe can recite a litany of historic Boise State games he’s attended. That includes all three Fiesta Bowls and games against Virginia Tech and Georgia.

Moe said he and fellow volunteer Dr. David Croft went to former Boise State Athletic Director Curt Apsey in 2016 and convinced him to allow volunteers to guide tours through the hall of fame. They’ve been sharing the Broncos’ stories ever since.

“We noticed there were a lot of visitors who had a lot of questions and weren’t getting a lot of answers,” Moe said. “There’s so much great history here at Boise State. It’s a shame not to share it.”

The Broncos’ 2020 hall of fame class, which wasn’t enshrined last year because of COVID-19, will be inducted Oct. 15 during Boise State’s home game against Air Force.

The 2020 class includes former Boise State distance runner Emma Bates, football player Korey Hall, Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier, wrestler Ben Cherrington, tennis player Luke Shields and track star Kurt Felix.

Boise State softball coach Justin Shults was introduced on Friday. He spent the past three seasons as an assistant at Oregon, serving primarily as hitting coach.
Boise State softball coach Justin Shults was introduced on Friday. He spent the past three seasons as an assistant at Oregon, serving primarily as hitting coach.

Softball: Shults focused on growth

After a stint in the Minor Leagues, Boise State’s Justin Shults started coaching softball as a way to pay for his master’s degree. About a decade later, he says he’ll never go back to baseball.

“Softball is such a faster game with more power and speed, in my opinion,” Shults said Friday during his introductory press conference at Dona Larsen Park, which is where the Broncos’ softball team calls home.

Boise State announced Wednesday that Shults is taking over for former softball coach Maggie Huffaker, who announced in May that she was resigning after three years at the helm.

Shults, 33, played college baseball at UC Riverside, and the native of Valencia, California, spent the past three seasons as an assistant at Oregon, where he primarily served as hitting coach.

He chose Boise State because of a vision for growth of the program with new Athletic Director Jeramiah Dickey, who was hired in January.

“I’ve been here three times, and every time there’s been an upgrade to the stadium,” Shults said. “This is a very young program, and past coaches have done a great job building the foundation. Now it’s time to make it a consistent winner.”

Boise State pitcher Kiele Miller said she had a deep emotional connection with Huffaker and was really sad to see her leave, but she’s excited about the future of the program.

“We have so much untapped potential here and we’re really excited for somebody to light a fire under our hitters, and I think coach Shults is the person to do that,” Miller said.

Huffaker led the Broncos to their second appearance in the NCAA Tournament in program history in 2019. This spring, the Broncos went 20-25 and finished fifth in the Mountain West.

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