Curt Apsey can't relax and watch every second of every Boise State University football game.
"At least not as much of the game as I used to," he said with a big laugh.
He's too busy making sure that everyone else is experiencing the total Bronco Nation experience.
"A big part of my job includes all of the moving pieces of marketing and promotion," said Apsey. "So, I really like to spend game day saying, 'Thank you.'"
Apsey has lost count of how many "thank yous" he's said in the 15 years that he has served as Boise State's senior associate athletic director.
Boise Weekly had a rare sit-down with Apsey (he's almost always in motion) to talk about the university's evolution, changes to Bronco Stadium and the outlook for this season's football team.
You were a pretty great soccer player and coach, and both of your daughters participate in the sport. Were you ever their coach?
It's funny, both of my girls got hooked on soccer pretty naturally. I learned it was better to watch from the sidelines and be a dad. If they asked, I would give suggestions.
Prior to 1998, most of your life and career had been spent in California. Did you seek out the Boise State job?
I got a call from a good friend of mine, Mark Rosen, who was then the Boise State women's volley coach, saying that I would be a good fit for an opening at Boise State. I didn't know anything about Idaho. I interviewed for the job, got an offer, but initially said no. Then [Athletic Director] Gene Bleymaier called me back and said, "You've got to do this." That was December 1998 and I'm still here.
For those who weren't familiar with you before September 2011, everyone quickly got to know you when you were named as interim athletic director after Gene Bleymaier was fired. Were those difficult or challenging days?
It wasn't difficult. It was challenging. Am I going to say I slept 10 hours a night? Absolutely not. That happened in early September, right about the same time of our first football game. When President [Bob] Kustra asked me to do that, there was no hesitation for me to help keep our train rolling in the right direction. But when you're responsible for 475 student athletes and 150 staff, you lean on a lot of people. I remember our first staff meeting. My main message was, "Don't worry about your job. Do your job." When you have a change of leadership like that, people get nervous; it's human nature. But those looking for jobs probably aren't doing their job.
How do you compare the Boise State that greeted you in 1998 and today's university?
Oh man. Boise as a city has changed dramatically. It's not a hidden gem anymore. But the university has really gone to a completely different level. It's the quickest growth I've ever been a part of. When I got here, our athletic budget was $9.5 million. Now, it's $36 million.
Tell us about the new video board currently being installed inside Bronco Stadium.
We're retiring Old Blue out there. We put in the old Bronco Vision in 2001. It lived a great life. That video board was 18 by 24 [feet]. The new video board is 36 by 58 [feet]. Come the first week of September, if everything goes right, we'll turn it on.
As we sit here this morning, the USA Today Coaches Poll has ranked the Boise State football team as No. 19 in the nation.
Quite honestly, the poll at the beginning of the season really doesn't mean anything. It's where you end up.
But this is the fifth straight year that the Broncos have been in the Top 20 pre-season poll, and that's based on year-after-year success. That's consistency.
It's funny that you say that. "Consistent" is a big word in our football program. Our head coach has been here since 2001. Being consistent is all about providing an environment where people want to stay.
How good is this year's football team?
I'm not going to kid you. We lost a lot of really good players, but we have great players in our program. You try not to focus on the end result. It's the process. I firmly believe that if you focus on the process, the end result is always going to get better.
My sense is that you love your job.
I've been doing this a long time.
But doing something a long time doesn't always translate into passion.
Without question, I love the people that I'm around. Everyday, I'm coming to work and I'm contributing to the development of these students. And when they walk away with a victory, and then they walk away with a college degree, that makes me feel pretty good. I can't think of doing anything else.