The Idaho Vandals defeated the Idaho State Bengals in the Big Sky Women’s Basketball Conference Championship game by a score of 67-55, a game which ISU led 26-23 at halftime.
Vandals’ head coach Jon Newlee, who coached in Pocatello for six seasons, was fired up after the win.
When the Bengals took on the Vandals in their regular season meeting, Newlee left Pocatello with a bitter taste in his mouth.
“There was an incident while I was in Pocatello,” Newlee said after Saturday’s championship game. “They were profane, verbally abusing me in Pocatello behind my bench.”
According to Newlee, there were about five fans who were cussing him and his players out throughout the game.
“It was pathetic,” Newlee remarked as he encountered the same fans during the championship game. “It feels really good to stick it to those ignorant people.”
Despite this, Newlee says he has a lot of great friends in Pocatello.
Just moments after Saturday’s loss, ISU Athletic Director Jeff Tingey tweeted, “Class act. Idaho’s Newlee came over to the @ISUBengals fans postgame to gloat and celebrate… twice. They can have him.”
The Tweet was later deleted.
“All I did was win there and leave there,” Newlee said, with the freshly cut down net draped around his neck. “There are still bitter people apparently eight years later, which is their problem, certainly not mine. The grass is greener in Moscow.”
Newlee was the head man in Pocatello for six years, coaching the Bengals to three NIT appearances.
He is the only coach in ISU history to win Coach of the Year multiple times and is only the second coach in school history to even win the prestigious award.
Newlee is also responsible for two of the three 20-win seasons in school history and coached four of the team’s five post-season berths.
Newlee left ISU in April of 2008.
He told the Idaho State Journal in January 2015 that he left ISU because the team would no longer allow his one-and-a-half-year-old daughter at the time to ride in ISU-affiliated vehicles, including the buses and vans.
It was the straw that broke the camel’s back and led Newlee to leave the university.
“My daughter’s my number one priority in my life. She has been since the day she was born,” Newlee told the ISJ. “And if she wasn’t going to be allowed to do that, how am I supposed to do my job?”
In 2008, the athletic department was in turmoil after former Athletic Director Paul Bubb resigned that April due to an $800,000 shortfall in the athletic budget leading to a university investigation.
Tingey, the current athletic director, down and hired on in 2009 after Bubb stepped down. He told the ISJ, “I don’t remember that being the case. I remember him moving to the Western Athletic Conference, to a good opportunity.”
Once in Moscow, Newlee did nothing but succeed as he and the Vandals just brought home the third conference title from two different conferences in four years for the women’s basketball program.