Friday, July 19, 2024

Column: Area ADs work among giants

Daily Inter Lake | April 8, 2024 11:16 AM

When Libby High graduate Jerek Wolcott, the assistant athletic director at the University of Idaho, needed volunteers for the East Regional of the NCAA Tournament he knew just who to call.

Next year he won’t have to phone Nik Rewerts, Libby’s athletic director. Sharpie him in, right now.

“I had about the best seat in the gym, pretty much,” Rewerts said Wednesday, a couple weeks after sitting near half court at the East Regional’s first- and second-round games, which oddly enough were in Spokane. “I was a spotter on the stat crew.”

Matt Porrovechio was a tad jealous. 

“Nik had a great spot,” the Bigfork High School athletic director said. “That was a neat job. I didn’t have that.”

Porrovechio and his wife Lacey still enjoyed running stats and escorting players around and their seats were free — a heck of a fringe benefit to a working vacation. 

“It’s something I always wanted to see,” Porrovechio said. “It’s one of those storied things. If you’re a sports guy or girl, going to the NCAA Tournament is kind of a bucket list thing to do. But I was always too cheap to buy tickets.”

Hotels, gas, food he was on the hook for, but it was worth it. 

“To work it and actually be active? I loved it,” he said. “I’d do it again.”

Rewerts is the one who invited Porrovecchio, along with about every other AD he knew, and Ronan’s Mitchell Wassam made the trek along with Rewerts’ retired dad, Rik. 

The latter escorted players and coaches to and from press conferences.

“Then he got to sit under a basket and watch every game,” Nik Rewerts said. “He had a great time”

It all started with Wolcott.

“His older brother and I were very good friends in high school,” Rewerts said. “He reached out and asked me, and asked me if I knew anybody else who’d be interested.”

So it was that they got to see Yale knock off Auburn — with the Idaho Vandals’ pep band playing the Bulldogs’ fight song — on March 22 in person. That’s also when Rewerts found his view obstructed.

“Coach Pearl,” he said of Auburn’s demonstrative coach, Bruce Pearl. “He basically stood in front of me the whole game. It was fun listening to him. They have a little different way of coaching at that level.”

Another difference from the Northwest A hoops circuit is the sheer size and athleticism of the players in Spokane. Yale’s Danny Wolf, for example

“I’m a fairly big guy,” said Rewerts, who stands 6-foot-5. “And I was small compared to most of the guys. Wolf was 7-foot, 320 pounds.”

Bulldog coach James Jones gained a fan, after talking quite a bit about his teachers and coaches at a press conference. That hit hard with Rewerts; his is a teaching family.

Go Yale Elis! At least until this time in 2025.

“And I’ll definitely be going back for the women’s tournament,” Rewerts said. 

Fritz Neighbor can be reached at 406-758-4463 or at