LOGAN — In Randy Rahe’s eyes, there may not be two more intertwined coaching staffs in the country than Weber State and Utah State.
Start the coaching genealogy with Utah State coach Stew Morrill, then add Rahe, his assistant for 13 years, six at USU.
While recruiting for the Aggies, Rahe got to know Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College coach Tim Duryea, who eventually joined USU’s staff, where he has now been an assistant to Morrill for 12 years.
When Rahe became the head coach at Weber State, he went back to Hutchinson CC to hire Eric Duft, who he had met while Duft was Duryea’s assistant for two years.
In Rahe’s short time as an assistant at the University of Utah after leaving USU, he worked with Chris Jones, who is now on Morrill’s current staff, and Rahe’s most recent hire, Keith Berard, came recommended by another USU assistant, Tarvish Felton.
The whole family will come together today when Weber State (1-1) and Utah State (2-1) meet at 7 p.m. at the Smith Spectrum for a Thanksgiving weekend reunion.
Morrill and Rahe’s relationship can be seen on the court in their similar coaching styles and systems.
“We obviously have great respect for their coaches,” Rahe said, starting with Morrill, his mentor. “We try to do what they do.”
That includes trying to replicate Utah State’s home court success.
In Morrill’s 15 seasons at USU, the Aggies have still haven’t reached double-digits losses at home to non-conference opponents (106-9) and have won 91.8 percent of all their games in the Spectrum (212-19) in his tenure.
Morrill likes to refer to it as “Spectrum magic,” but it’s black magic to opposing teams who find themselves under its curse.
Rahe has experience with both spectrums of the Spectrum’s spell, witnessing it first-hand as Morrill’s assistant, then while compiling a 2-6 record against the Aggies in his seven years as a head coach at Weber State.
“We’ve seen it forever,” Rahe said. “The thing that gets you up there is a little four-point run can turn into 10-point run in just a few seconds.”
That’s when the raucous Spectrum explodes in a wall of ear-splitting noise, making it difficult for coaches to communicate and for opposing players to keep their heads in the game.
“That’s what makes the Spectrum the Spectrum,” Rahe said. “You combine a great crowd, great student section, with great coaching (by Morrill) and that’s the formula for a great college basketball environment.”
Both of Rahe’s wins over Utah State, including a 73-63 victory last season, came at the Dee Events Center, but WSU has lost eight straight in the Spectrum dating back to Dec. 7, 1993. USU leads the all-time series 38-26.
One of the Aggies’ rare non-conference losses at home came just last week against Saint Mary’s, but USU defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christie Nov. 17 and hasn’t lost consecutive games in the Spectrum since the 1992-93 season.
“It’s an incredible challenge really, to put our kids in a tough environment against a high quality team,” Rahe said. “You’re going to find out what your team is all about. (The Aggies) don’t lose there very often.
“You just know you’re going to have to be tough as heck and stay together.”
WSU has four players averaging in double figures, led by junior transfer guard Davion Berry with 19.0 points per game. Jordan Richardson and Scott Bamforth average 11.5 ppg, while Frank Otis contributes 10.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
Junior center Jarred Shaw is averaging 14.0 points and 10.3 rebounds per game to lead the Aggies, while junior guard Preston Medlin, last year’s WAC player of the year, and senior forward Kyisean Reed contribute 12.7 ppg each for the Aggies.
WSU junior forward Byron Fulton is questionable for tonight’s game with a knee injury.