Posted September 28, 2007
On Wednesday, Oct. 3, Pocatello residents are invited to help Idaho State University icon Babe Caccia celebrate his 90th birthday.
The public is invited to attend a celebration ISU will host to honor its former athletic star, coach and athletic director. Festivities will be from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Sports & Orthopaedic Center at ISU, adjacent to Holt Arena at 560 Memorial Drive. Birthday cake and hors d’oeuvres will be served.
The birthday party is just one of several ways ISU will honor Caccia during Homecoming week.
Ceremonies prior to ISU’s Oct. 6 Homecoming game with Northern Colorado will be held to name the Holt Arena football field Caccia Field.
“This is a great tribute to Babe, another ISU icon, for his extraordinary achievements that have brought the University national recognition,” says ISU President Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D. “This is a great opportunity to honor Babe in Holt Arena, a place of Idaho’s true champions.”
“I am extremely pleased and humbled to have the Holt Arena football field named after me,” Caccia says. “I thank everyone involved in according me this great honor.”
Members of Caccia’s undefeated 1952 and 1957 Idaho State College football teams will accompany him on the field for the naming ceremony, and, with Caccia, will be guests of honor at a postgame get-together, from 5 to 7 p.m., sponsored by the ISU Athletic Department at the Red Lion Hotel Pocatello, 1555 Pocatello Creek Road.
ISU has started a fundraising initiative, “Thanks a Million, Babe,” in conjunction with the birthday party and naming ceremony. The initiative is a campaign to raise $1 million in honor of Caccia.
The committee responsible for bringing all the elements of the celebration together includes M.R. “Mick” Mickelson, Paul Bubb, Kent Tingey, Mike Byrne, Scott Hobdey, Andy Akers, Phil Meador and Don Colby.
Anyone wanting information on contributing to “Thanks a Million, Babe” should contact Colby at the ISU Foundation, (208) 282-3470.
Caccia is the winningest coach in ISU’s history in both football and baseball. His career football record, 80-38-2, 67.8 percent, from 1952 to 1965, includes unbeaten seasons in 1952 and 1957 and the 1963 Big Sky Conference championship in the first year of the league’s existence. He also won five Rocky Mountain Conference championships. He coached baseball for eight seasons, 1967-74, and posted a 152-116 record. His 28-5 1968 team is considered the best baseball team in school history.
He was ISU athletic director seven years and assistant athletic director 14 years. One of his hires as athletic director was a great one, head football coach Dave Kragthorpe, who led ISU to the 1981 national championship.
Caccia was an outstanding football player at ISU from 1936-38, and is a member of the ISU Sports Hall of Fame and the Ring of Honor.
He was big in civic involvement after his retirement from ISU. He served as a Pocatello City Councilman and is a founding member of Pocatello’s Sports Committee, which has brought many sporting events, including two NCAA Division I-AA national championship football games, to the Gate City.
Babe met his wife of 33 years, Tracy, while coaching in Edmonton, Alberta, in the Canadian Football League after he’d concluded his ISU coaching career. Tracy, children Heidi, John and Bill, and four grandchildren will all attend the week’s events.