Don’t be surprised to see Washington State coach Ernie Kent on Idaho coach Don Verlin’s bench when the teams meet in Pullman, Washington, on Dec. 7.
“It would be funny,” Verlin told ESPN after Kent bid $2,000 to win an item in a live charity auction that included an all-access pass to one of Idaho’s games this season.
Verlin said the package -- which was auctioned during the 15th annual Coaches vs. Cancer Gala in Spokane -- included a chance to attend Idaho’s pregame shootaround, pregame meal and pregame talk in the locker room, as well as sit on the bench and even call the first play of the game.
“Someone had bid $600, and then all of a sudden there was a bid of $2,000,” Verlin said. “I turned around and saw Ernie smiling from ear to ear. I thought it was awesome. It was for a great cause. The entire event is to raise money and awareness for cancer.”
“It’s not about the dollar amount,” Kent told The Spokesman-Review. “It was about making an emphasis on the awareness for why we were there. That can’t get overlooked in the giving, and the fact that it’s Idaho. It’s the American Cancer Society and it’s Coaches vs. Cancer. It was an opportunity to give back, but first and foremost it was an opportunity to bring awareness. I lost my dad to cancer. I’m sure everybody’s been affected, and it’s about beating this disease, and here was an opportunity in a moment to do something that is going to bring awareness to beating this disease.”
Washington State-Idaho is one of the longest-standing rivalries in the West. The two campuses are less than 10 miles apart, and the two teams play every season, alternating home venues. Idaho has won the past two matchups.
“We haven’t talked about exactly what he wants to do,” Verlin said. “I might be sitting on the bench with him when the game tips off on Dec. 7, but I’m not sure I’m going to let him call the first play.”