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Homecoming 2021 Celebrates a Century of “Vandals”

September 30, 2021

MOSCOW, Idaho — Sept. 30, 2021 — Don Monson, the winningest coach in the history of University of Idaho basketball and a U of I alumnus, will return to his alma mater to serve as the grand marshal for the 2021 Homecoming Parade Saturday, Oct. 9.

Homecoming festivities run Sunday through Saturday, Oct. 3-9, a week that also features the grand opening of the Idaho Central Credit Union (ICCU) Arena and launch of the “Brave. Bold. A Promise to Idaho Students.” campaign.

“This is a Vandal Family reunion that offers something for everyone,” said Kathy Barnard, assistant vice president for alumni relations and advancement communications. “Homecoming is always an amazing celebration of all things Vandal, and this year, we have even more to celebrate.”

Monson graduated in 1955 after lettering four times for the Vandal men’s basketball team. Inducted into the Vandal Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007, he is celebrated for guiding the basketball program to its first NCAA tournament in 1980-81 and advancing to the Sweet 16 in 1981-82. Monson led the team to an impressive 100-41 record over five seasons.

“Coming back to Moscow and the University of Idaho as part of Homecoming is something special,” Monson said. “To be part of the new basketball arena grand opening ceremony is an honor and a privilege. The fact that I played my college basketball in Memorial Gym, coached in the Kibbie Dome, and now we have a first-class basketball facility makes me extremely proud.”

The ribbon-cutting for the ICCU Arena — a first-of-its-kind, engineered mass-timber facility — is set for 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8. Immediately following is the first official event to take place in the arena, the kickoff of the “Brave. Bold. A Promise to Idaho’s Students.” campaign.

Homecoming 2021 marks100 years since the official nickname of “Vandals” was widely adopted for Idaho athletics teams. In 1917, Argonaut reporter Jazz McCarty coined the moniker “Vandals” for the basketball team’s prowess on the court. The pre-game write-up notes, “the opening game with Whitman will mark a new epoch in Idaho basketball history, for the present gang of ‘Vandals’ have the best material that has ever carried the “I” into action.” Later in 1921, a push to make the nickname permanent paid off. U of I is the only higher education institution in the country with the Vandals handle, which influenced the creation of the Joe Vandal mascot in 1956.

Homecoming activities include:

Sunday, Oct. 3

  • Noon — Vandal Soccer vs. Southern Utah University, ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center

Monday, Oct. 4

  • 2 p.m. — Vandalize Moscow window painting competition, downtown Moscow
  • Food drive bags will be distributed by student teams throughout Moscow

Tuesday through Thursday, Oct. 5-7

Thursday, Oct. 7

  • Food drive collection by student teams throughout Moscow
  • 6 p.m. — Vandal Volleyball vs. University of Montana, Memorial Gym

Friday, Oct. 8

  • Living group decorations contest and display, campus-wide
  • 5 p.m. — ICCU Arena Ribbon Cutting and “Brave. Bold. A Promise to Idaho’s Students.” campaign kickoff, ICCU Arena
  • 6:30 p.m. — Vandal Rally with live music, food and beverages, ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center parking lot
  • 8 p.m. — Serpentine, bonfire and royalty crowning, beginning at the golf course and ending at the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center parking lot
  • 9:15 p.m. — ICCU and Best Western Plus University Inn Fireworks Extravaganza, ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center parking lot

Saturday, Oct. 9

The VandalStore will offer a sliding-scale discount based on graduation year Friday through Sunday, Oct. 8-10, at Moscow and Boise locations and free shipping for online orders with code VANDALCENTURY.

Traditional I-mum corsages can be ordered by calling Little Shop of Florals at 208-596-4444.

The full schedule of events and parade application are available at

Media Contact

Marie Duncan
Director, Alumni Operations

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at


University Communications and Marketing

Fax: 208-885-5841


Web: Communications and Marketing

U of I Media Contacts