Former YVCC Basketball Coach Leads His Team to the Big Dance
Leon Rice cut his college coaching teeth as both an assistant and head coach at Yakima Valley Community College and now he's taking his Boise State Broncos into the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
An alumnus of Washington State, Rice served as an assistant to the legendary Dean Nicholson at YVCC, taking over the program in 1998-99. That team brought YVCC its fourth straight Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) Eastern Region title with 31 wins.
From YVCC, Rice went on to Gonzaga, where he served as an assistant to Mark Few for 11 seasons,and played a major role in the Bulldogs' NCAA Tournament appearances in each of his seasons in Spokane. Gonzaga earned Sweet 16 berths in 2000, 2001, 2006 and 2009; and reached the second round in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2010.
Rice helped lead the Bulldogs to five top-10 appearances in the final Associated Press poll, including a No. 3 ranking in 2004. Gonzaga also finished fifth in 2006, sixth in 2002 and 10th in both 2005 and 2009.
The Bulldogs went 291-73 in Rice's tenure on the Gonzaga staff, including a school-record 29-4 mark in both 2002 and 2006.
Now in his fifth season as head coach of the Boise State men’s basketball team, Leon Rice is taking the Broncos to the NCAA Tournament for the second time during his tenure and for the seventh time in school history.
Boise State will face Dayton in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Wednesday, March 18.