Boise State’s Graham fired after eight seasons

BOISE, Idaho — Boise State head coach Greg Graham was fired Friday after the Broncos posted a losing record for the first time in the last three seasons.Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier announced the decision, saying it was time for a change in leadership. The move comes one day after the Broncos were trounced 84-60 by top-seeded Utah State in the first round of the Western Athletic Conference tournament.Graham had a 142-112 record in eight seasons at Boise State, making him the second-winningest coach in school history. His best year was 2007-08, when the Broncos won a share of the WAC title then won the conference tournament to earn a trip to the NCAA tournament, the first since 1994.He leaves with one year remaining on a contract that pays him $365,000 per year. A national search for his replacement is under way.”We appreciate everything that coach Graham and his staff have contributed to Boise State the past eight years,” Bleymaier said in a statement. “We felt that in the best interest of the program we needed to make a change.”Graham did not immediately return phone messages or e-mails left by The Associated Press on Friday.After spending five years as an assistant at Oregon, Graham was hired in 2002 to resurrect a Bronco program that was struggling in the standings, in getting fans in the stands and in escaping the shadow of the school’s successful football program.In his second year, the Broncos won 23 games, earning an invitation to the NIT tournament.But Graham failed to make the Broncos a consistent winner and contender with top WAC teams like Nevada and Utah State. Last year, the Broncos finished 19-13.Boise State ended this season with a 15-17 record, including an embarrassing 79-55 loss at home to in-state rival Idaho and a seven-game losing streak to conference foes.The poor performance on the floor was also taking a toll on attendance and revenue. The team sold just 3,675 season tickets this year, the lowest on record, and averaged a little more than 3,000 fans per game, according to athletic department figures.

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