Matchsticks and other inspiring items eaten by Mountain West hoops coaches


The San Diego State Aztecs men’s hoops team will face the Boise State Broncos on Saturday night in Boise. It figures to be a tough game considering even vintage SDSU teams have had trouble at Taco Bell Arena and this team is … uh … less than vintage.

But I’m not here to talk about that (thank god). I’m here to talk about this.

That is Boise State head coach Leon Rice talking about eating a book of matches to inspire his team to a win over Colorado State. Gross!

Certainly, Rice is a grown man and can put whatever he chooses into his own body, and – at the very least – matchsticks are probably tastier than the product his arena is named after. Also, did you know there is apparently an entire subculture of matchstick-munchers out there walking among us? So apparently Rice is in good company.

Is this safe behavior?

After a little Googling, I can tell you that matchstick heads are made of potassium chlorate. Let’s see what our friends in Toxicology Data Network have to say about ingesting this substance.

Ingestion of more than a few grams of sodium or potassium chlorate results in acute intravascular hemolysis and anuric renal failure. Before 1960 the renal complication of chlorate poisoning was almost invariably fatal though since then successful treatment of the renal failure by peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis has been recorded on a number of occasions


While the certain demise of Leon Rice is undeniably unfortunate, it got me to wondering what other strange things Mountain West coaches chomp down to fire up their teams. I put on my reporter’s cap and posed this question to my network of sources/moles/spies and here’s what I learned:

Tim Duryea, Utah State
Ruby Tuesday’s Philly Cheesesteak Potstickers 
What better way to keep your players from transferring than by emphatically enjoying a scrumptious appetizer from the one place there is to eat in Logan.

Larry Eustachy, Colorado State
Three Scantrons
Goddammit Larry, what have you done?? Your players needed those scantrons!

Allen Edwards, Wyoming
Italian food
Aw yeah. Dude played for Rick Pitino, so he knows what’s up.

Eric Musselman, Nevada 
A burrito from Qdoba
A proud Torero in his playing days, Musselman just wants to remind his players he is an alum of the University San Diego. He does this by paying three times more for something than the superior version he could have purchased in a neighborhood that makes him lock his car doors.

Marvin Menzies, UNLV
A plate from the Excalibur Buffet
When Menzies doesn’t immediately start shivering like he drank the water at Duff Gardens, his players think he’s a supernatural being with an iron stomach.

Craig Neal, New Mexico
Anything but matchsticks
He’s understandably trying to keep the words “Craig Neal” and “fire” from appearing in the same sentence.

David Pilipovich, Air Force
A bowl of soup
Pilipovich opens a package of crackers and crumbles them on top before slowly and methodically slurping down a large bowlful, dabbing his chin with a cloth napkin between each bite. The entire process takes about 45 minutes and the players watch in rapt silence. This prepares them perfectly for the tempo of Falcons basketball.

Rodney Terry, Fresno State
Peanut butter
This caused problems earlier this season when he tried to give an inspiring speech, but got muffled and all his players heard was “no really, please lose to Prairie View A&M and Cal State Bakersfield.”

Dave Wojcik, San José State
Instant ramen
After being paid out of shoestring SJSU athletics budgets and forking over $4,950 a month to live on a cot in a supply closet in San José, this is all he has money for. I am actually thinking of taking up a collection for Dave at next week’s game. Sportsmanship!

Steve Fisher, San Diego State
A steam tray of brisket catered by Aztec Shops
Coach would prefer to go with something less ordinary to get his players’ attention, like raw eggs, unused student tickets or Malik Pope’s phone. Unfortunately consuming non-Aztec-Shops food at an official on-campus event is punishable by 18 months in federal prison. This is a zero tolerance policy, folks.

Author: Aztecs Killing Him

Former proprietor of AztecsKillingHim dot com, a long-dead SDSU sports blog that was possibly dumber even than this one. On Twitter at @akh_blog.


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