EOU, ALBERTSON BATTLE FOR I-84 CUP
Beginning Friday, Eastern Oregon University and Albert-son College's men's basketball teams will begin a new era in collegiate rivalry icons a battle for the I-84 Cup.
The I-84 Cup was the brainchild of the athletic directors for each institution, Rob Cashell of Eastern Oregon and Marty Holly of Albertson College.
"The I-84 Cup will be a traveling trophy that is up for grabs each game during conference play. Whichever team wins takes home the cup until the next contest. The goal, obviously, is to keep the cup," Cashell said.
The inaugural meeting for the I-84 Cup will take place Friday at 7:30 p.m. MST in Caldwell, Idaho. The rematch will be Feb. 4 at EOU's Quinn Coliseum.
Many hope that the I-84 Cup will become not only a focal point for the two teams, but for the fans as well.
"Traditionally, Northwest Na-zarene has been the biggest rival of the Coyotes," said Holly. "However, with NNU's move to the NCAA, the Albertson-Eastern Oregon rivalry has taken center stage in the minds of Coyote students and fans. Last year, the crowds in Caldwell and in La Grande were the loudest in the entire Cascade Conference. With the addition of the I-84 Cup, it should be a fun atmosphere on Friday night."
"Albertson has become one of our greatest rivals," Cashell added. "The I-84 Cup represents added incentive to prepare for the 'Yotes and earn a victory. It also gives our fans and Boosters an added experience."
Albertson holds a 95-58 lead in the all-time series in a rivalry that be-gan with the first year of Eastern Oregon Uni- versity's existence, 1929.The Coyote-Mountaineer series is the fourth longest in EOU history, while it is the second longest in 'Yote history.
EOU's last win at Albertson came during the 1996-97 season, when the Mountaineers defeated Albertson 64-56 with just five varsity players on their game roster.The depleted varsity roster was limited to Rick Oliphant, Jason Peterson, Jared Barrett, Mitch Despanie and current EOU head coach Ryan Looney.
The rest of the lineup was filled with junior varsity players, who had played a game at Treasure Valley Community College earlier in the day.
"Havingplayed in thelast win for the Mountaineers at Albertson, I know that it takes a little extra when you play the 'Yotes in Caldwell," Looney said. "We will enjoy establishing this new tradition forpossession ofthe I-84 Cup.This will be a real treat for both players and fans alike."
Albertson College has a 12-game win streak on its home court at the Activities Center.
For those EOU fans interested in attending the game in Caldwell, the EOU Booster Club is sponsoring a Booster Bus.Cost is $35 for round-trip transportation, games admission and entry into the hospitality room at the game.Departure is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Friday from the parking lot between Quinn Coliseum and the EOU tennis courts.