Going for two
Spencer Fair to play football, basketball at Western
For the past year, much like his dunks and high-arching 3-pointers and football field goals, Fruita Monument High School senior Spencer Fair had said his college decision was “all up in the air.”
It’s finally landed.
Fair, a 6-foot-7 kicker who is capable of hitting from 50 yards out with consistency, yet loves basketball, chose both sports.
Last week, instead of dedicating his college days to just kicking and having the top-flight coaches and big crowds and possible nationally televised game-winning field goals, Fair chose to play two sports in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference at Western State Colorado University.
High school signing day is Wednesday, and Fair will ink his name to become a kicker and basketball player.
Last fall, Fair hit eight field goals, including a 49-yarder. He made a 55-yarder that was called back because of a penalty.
For Fruita’s 8-10 basketball team that hosts Montrose at 7 p.m. today, he averages 13 points, six rebounds, 2.2 assists and is 13 of 26 from behind the 3-point arc.
“I love basketball,” he said. “Ever since I was little. My dad coached middle school since I was a little kid, and I used to run sprints with them.”
Fair’s respective coaches weighed in on his decision before it was made. And, of course, both Fruita Monument football coach Sean Mulvey and basketball coach Billy Dreher thought Fair should focus on the sport that each coaches.
“Obviously, if I got a chance to take a spin in that body and be Spencer Fair,” Mulvey said, “I’d kick the hell out of the ball. But that’s just me.”
Dreher’s advice: Do what you love.
“It’s got to be what you love,” Dreher said, “and I know he’s got a great leg. It’s a business at the college level. You’ve really got to love it, because you spend a lot of time in practice. Sometimes it’s hard enough just to do that one sport.”
Dreher said he sees Fair as a small forward and power forward who can stretch defenses with his outside shooting.
But as far as cracking a Division I roster, or going professional, the odds are against you, particularly in basketball, Dreher said.
There typically are only 12 players on a given hoops roster.
There are maybe two kickers on a given football roster.
Mulvey said Fair, who does not expect to punt at Western State, knows what is best for himself. But one advantage of going Division I in football, Mulvey said, would have been top-flight coaching. Coupled with the right leg on his 6-7 frame, the torque generated could be uniquely powerful, Mulvey said. Even in the RMAC.
“He generates such force kicking the ball,” Mulvey said. “He’s still an inconsistent kicker and could benefit from studying the entire thing and having some coaches that focus on that.”
Fair also was considering playing two sports at the University of Northern Colorado, Fort Lewis College and Colorado Mesa University.
Also, the University of Colorado had been in contact with Fair before the school’s firing of head coach Jon Embree.
“And nothing since then,” Fair said. “I wouldn’t mind (playing for CU). Pac-12, great conference. But you can’t play intramural basketball. Strictly football.”
University of Colorado graduate Mason Crosby plays for the Green Bay Packers.
Fair said Colorado is an example of a school that does not allow its athletes on scholarship to play intramurals.
“You’re their property, per se,” Fair said.
Mulvey said the University of Nebraska, which produced Philadelphia Eagles kicker Alex Henery, flew Fair out for a visit his junior season.
Fair said others who showed interest were Arizona Christian University for basketball and the Air Force Academy for football.
“But I don’t like the military part,” Fair said.
Big-time football isn’t out of the question, Fair said.
After all, New England kicker Adam Vinatieri is considered by some as the most clutch kicker of all time. He attended South Dakota State, which now is Division I but was Division II when he played for the Jackrabbits.
St. Louis Rams rookie Greg Zuerlein, the only other active kicker on an NFL roster who didn’t attend a Division I school, is from Division II Missouri Western State University.
More recently, Colorado School of Mines punter Taylor Accardi was a 2012 Division II Preseason All-American who last fall ended his four-year career as the all-time NCAA Division II leader in career punting average (46.1 yards). He is regarded as a possible NFL prospect.
And so it seems there’s still an outside shot for Fair to become a professional kicker from a Division II program.
After all, consistent 50-plus-yard field goals are just that at any level.