The 1951-52 Aggies & Our Shot at The Olympics

I’m working on adding game data to USUStats, and just scrounged up enough information about the 1951-52 season to add it to USUStats here:

Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the sport of basketball in 1891.

The USU Media Guide is wildly inaccurate for the 1951-52 season. My theory is that end of season records were kept by hand (I’ve seen copies of these) and the writer had very sloppy handwriting (I’m not kidding). Out of 31 games, 13 of them had inaccurate scores, sometimes both teams, sometimes just one team. Two of those games had inaccurate outcomes as well, ironically games against Utah and BYU. The USU media guide lists the BYU game on Feb 2, 1952 as a win and the Utah game on March 1, 1952 as a loss. In reality the opposite happened in both of those games. Our media guide also does not list game dates or whether the games were home, away, or neutral that far back, so that is information I have to find elsewhere.

The process of adding these games includes finding media guides for other teams, cross referencing them, and then searching through archives of 70 year old newspapers from various websites to validate any discrepancies. I am confident that my information is now 100% accurate for that season, but it does take a lot of time.

Anyway, at the end of the season I saw that we played several small colleges that we normally don’t play. Such as Regis, Clarion State, and Lawrence Tech. Our media guide didn’t indicate anything special about these games. Regis and Clarion State actually have online media guides with historical game data, and one of them listed the game against Utah State as an NAIA Playoff, while the other listed it as part of the NAIB Tournament.

I had heard the term “NAIA” referring to smaller colleges, but this was the first time I had heard of “NAIB”.

In 1937 Doctor James Naismith, the founding father of the sport of basketball put together the very first National College Basketball Tournament. It was held in Kansas City, Missouri at Municipal Auditorium. The goal of the tournament was to give smaller colleges and universities the ability to play to determine a national champion. A year after this tournament began, the NIT was formed, and the NCAA Tournament was formed the following year. In 1937 the tournament consisted of 8 teams and expanded to 32 teams in 1938. In 1940 the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball (NAIB) was formed in association with this tournament, and in 1952 the name was changed to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and expanded to include other sports.

Cartoon about All-American candidate Bert Cook who led the Aggies to the postseason in 1952. Credit: Deseret News, January 13, 1952

Fast forward to 1952. The Aggies had a surprise season finishing tied for 2nd in the Skyline Conference led by Bert Cook who was an All American candidate that year. We somehow garnered what appears to be a “play-in” game against Regis college for a berth to the NAIB Tournament. We won the game and were invited to the tournament. That year the tournament was changed from the NAIB Tournament to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Tournament and they shortly thereafter expanded to include sports other than just basketball.

The tournament consisted of 32 teams, mostly small colleges, though it did include some recognizable schools like Utah State, Indiana State, Montana State, Portland, Murray State, and New Mexico State (then known as New Mexico A&M). The Aggies won their opening match-up before losing to Lawrence Tech in the sweet 16.

An interesting tidbit about this tournament (besides the fact that it was founded by Dr. James Naismith himself) was that the champion of the NAIA tournament and the champion of the NCAA Tournament were both invited to the Olympic Trials for the chance to represent the United States in the 1952 Summer Olympics. This was mentioned in a couple of articles I read, and you can read up more on it here.

While the Aggies ultimately fell short in that tournament, I found it very interesting that had they won a few more games they could’ve been invited to the 1952 Olympic Trials. I have to believe that Bert Cook would have had a good shot at making the Olympic squad considering his accomplishments that year and talk of All-American candidacy.

It was very interesting to me to find all of this information out from 70 year old newspaper clippings and some research. USUStats is now updated and now properly reflects our participation in the NAIA Tournament in 1952.

Coach Blake Anderson’s Contract with Utah State

What a season and what a turnaround for the Utah State football program! From a team that ended the 2020 season with the players jointly deciding to forfeit their final game, to a team that tied the Utah State record of 11 wins in a single season while claiming Utah State’s first ever Mountain West Championship. The season capped off with a convincing Jimmy Kimmel Bowl victory over the Oregon State Beavers, the second PAC-12 team to fall to the Aggies in the 2021 Season.

Coach Blake Anderson hoists the 2021 Mountain West Conference Championship Trophy

So what changed that could have led to such a drastic turnaround? The most notable change was the hiring of Coach Blake Anderson. It was recently reported that Coach Anderson has received a 2 year extension to his initial contract with Utah State. USUStats has requested a copy of this contract extension, but has been informed that it is not yet complete and signed, but should be available soon (check back later for more). In the meantime, we have obtained Coach Anderson’s initial contract and will break down the notable details below. The full official contract can be downloaded here.

Main takeaways from the initial contract:

Base Pay (including $400,000 for media appearances per year):

Year 1 – $1,057,692
Year 2 – $1,025,000
Year 3 – $1,050,000
Year 4 – $1,075,000
Year 5 – $1,100,000

The base contract is $1M per year with an increase in pay of $25,000 per year. In Year 1, coach received some pro-rated pay by being hired in late December which pushed the amount up to $1,057,692.


Team wins the College Football Playoff (CFP) = $100,000
Team plays in the CFP Championship Game = $200,000
Team plays in a CFP Semi-Final Bowl Game = $200,000
Team plays in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game = $125,000
Team plays in a non-New Year’s Six Bowl Game = $75,000
Team wins the Conference Championship = $50,000
Team wins the Division Championship = $25,000
Team maintains a Multi-Year APR of 960 or better = $10,000
Team is ranked (Associated Press or Coaches Poll) at the end of a season in the:
Top 10 = $50,000
Top 20 = $25,000
Top 25 = $15,000
Note: This category of supplemental compensation is mutually exclusive, meaning that only one amount will be paid if the Team is ranked within the Top 25 (e.g. If the team was ranked as 14, then $25,000 would be awarded; NOT $25,000 for the Top 20 AND $15,000 for the Top 25.
Coach is selected as the “Conference Coach of the Year” by the Conference as voted by the Conference coaches = $15,000
Coach is selected as the national “Coach of the Year” by the Associated Press, the American Football Coaches Association, Sporting News, Home Depot, Bear Bryant, Eddie Robinson, CBS Sports, Maxwell/George Munger, Bobby Dodd, or the Walter Camp Football Foundation = $25,000
Team wins a rival game against BYU or University of Utah = $5,000

Buyout Clause (in my own words):

If EITHER Party (Utah State or Coach Anderson) terminate the agreement for convenience (i.e. USU fires Anderson for low performance or Anderson leaves for another position elsewhere), the party who terminates the agreement must pay the other party an amount equaling 75% of the pro-rated amount of base pay still remaining on the contract.

So when the contract was initiated that equated to a $3,980,769 buyout. At the completion of his first year (Jan 1, 2022) the buyout was $3,187,500. It goes down day by day as parts of his salary are paid. Utah State used this same formula when they signed basketball Coach Craig Smith a few years ago, and I really like it. Often times buyouts are set amount (as opposed to a percentage) if a coach gets poached, and the team is required to pay the full amount owed for the entire remaining contract if they fire the coach. It also includes a clause stating that if Coach Anderson is fired that he must seek employment elsewhere at fair market rates, and that his payout from USU would be decreased by the amount of his new paycheck.

With the news that Coach Anderson has reached an agreement with Utah State for a two-year extension to his contract, the buyout calculations will definitely change. Details on any increases in pay, or other modifications to buyout clauses are still unknown, but USUStats will publish a separate article once those details are available. Click the image below to download the official contract discussed in this article.