Robb Akey fired as Idaho head coach; Jason Gesser takes interim job

Chris Graythen

After 70 games, and a 20-50 record, Robb Akey is out as the head coach of the Idaho Vandals.

It was inevitable, unfortunately, but Idaho made it official on Sunday afternoon: Robb Akey has been relieved of his duties as the Vandals' head coach. The move comes on the heels of a 70-28 drubbing at the hands of Louisiana Tech on Saturday and in the midst of a 1-6 season that includes losses to Eastern Washington and Texas State, as well as some disastrous blowouts. Simply, things have gone downhill in a hurry for Idaho.

Somewhat surprisingly, Jason Gesser was named the interim head coach in a corresponding move. Yes, Jason Gesser, the relatively green assistant who was named the Vandals offensive coordinator coming into the season. It's news related to WSU in an all-around way.

On a personal level, I'm sad to see Akey go. He loved that Idaho job and had a passion for the area, program and school. This -- coaching Idaho -- was his passion, and he gave it his all. He probably just wasn't cut out to be the head coach, and the problems at Idaho have all come to a boil this year. Akey and the Vandals -- his Army -- started well, but there are just too many issues and a move had to be made.

From the blowouts to the impending move to independence (and who knows what will happen afterwards) to things happening below the surface, there are very real issues at Idaho. They were issues Akey simply couldn't solve. Maybe things just got away from him. Whatever the case, the program needs a deep clean going forward.

He is still, however, one hell of a person. It was always incredibly fun to watch Akey jump up and down on the sidelines and give players flying chestbumps at Washington State. His energy knows no bounds, and his passion for football is second-to-none.

And the way he's handled adversity, and the amount he cares for his players, has been more than admirable. When wide receiver Ken McRoyal passed away over the late last spring, Akey was there. He's tried to piece the team back together ever since. It was a difficult situation, but Akey showed just how much he cares for his players -- his family, really -- throughout.

Akey will get another job, another chance to succeed. His head coaching days may be over -- a 20-50 record isn't exactly sparkling -- but he can still coach the hell out of a defense. It is, however, sad to see him go, leaving behind something he truly did love in Moscow.

I'll leave you with one thing I'll always remember, even if it didn't involve WSU. At halftime during the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl, Akey capped his interview by saying, "watch the second half. You're going to love it." It may have sounded like a sales pitch, but he was right. The second half, and the end of the game, was awesome. You can't take that away from Akey.

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