Boise State Football Coaching Search Ends with Bryan Harsin


Speculation Runs High on Boise State Football Coaching Search

UPDATE 12/12/13

Here are the comments from Boise State upon naming Bryan Harsin the school’s new head football coach:

“We are extremely excited in our selection of Bryan Harsin as the next head football coach at Boise State,” Coyle said. “Bryan is one of the top young head coaches in college football and we are thrilled to bring him back to Boise to lead the Bronco program. Bryan played a key role in the development of the football program as an assistant for 10 years at Boise State and we look forward to his leadership as we continue the ascension of Bronco football.”

“We’re coming home,” Harsin said. “Kes and I are thrilled about returning to Boise State, it’s a special place built by special people. One of the hardest decisions we ever made was leaving Boise. We did that so I could become a better coach, so I could one day have the opportunity to return as head coach – that day has arrived.

“I appreciate the history and tradition of the Boise State program,” Harsin continued. “I embrace that success but won’t rest on it. We will build this program every day with a sense of urgency. I can’t wait to get to work. Go Broncos!”

“I am very excited to welcome Bryan Harsin back to Bronco Nation,” Boise State President Dr. Bob Kustra said. “His return is great news for all of us who do not want to lose momentum with the national reputation the program has achieved. As we write the next chapter of Bronco football history, I know it will continue to bring distinction to Boise State University.”

UPDATE 12/11/13

Here is the official announcement on Bryan Harsin’s departure:

JONESBORO – Arkansas State Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir announced Wednesday that head football coach Bryan Harsin has resigned to accept the Boise State head football coaching position.  Defensive coordinator John Thompson has been named the Red Wolves’ interim head coach, and a national search to fill the head football coach position at A-State will begin immediately.

“We appreciate everything Coach Harsin did for Arkansas State during his time as head football coach,” said Mohajir.  “We wish him and his family only the best in their future.  We will now turn our attention to conducting a national search for a head coach to lead our three-time defending Sun Belt Conference champion football program.”

Harsin was named Arkansas State’s 29th head football coach Dec. 12, 2012.  Thompson becomes the interim head football coach for the second consecutive year after leading Arkansas State to the 2013 GoDaddy Bowl championship.  Thompson has served as the Red Wolves defensive coordinator the last two seasons.

“An Arkansas State man coaches Arkansas State football,” Mohajir said about the Red Wolves’ upcoming appearance in the GoDaddy Bowl.

Arkansas State has produced a 7-5 overall record this season and claimed its third consecutive Sun Belt Conference championship with a 5-2 league mark.  The Red Wolves will make their third straight appearance in the GoDaddy Bowl on Jan. 5 when they will face Mid-American Conference member Ball State at Mobile, Ala.’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium.  A-State has won 27 games over the last three seasons.

“With three consecutive Sun Belt Conference championships, three straight bowl-game appearances, and 27 wins over that same span, our football program has developed a strong national brand,” said Mohajir.   “This is an opportunity to find the right person at the right time to fill our head football coach position and lead our emerging football program.”

The national search for Arkansas State’s next head football coach will be conducted by Mohajir, Arkansas State University Chancellor Dr. Tim Hudson and Arkansas State University System President Dr. Charles Welch.  Mohajir said Arkansas State will work to move quickly on the search.

Mohajir, two student-athletes and a group of athletics department officials are scheduled to make a site visit to Mobile, Ala., today in preparation for the upcoming GoDaddy Bowl.  Mohajir will meet with media upon returning to Jonesboro tonight.  The Athletics Media Relations Office will be releasing information to the media regarding interview opportunities with Mohajir once they become finalized.



We are told there will be an announcement today from Arkansas State University that Bryan Harsin has resigned as the head football coach of the Red Wolves. Harsin will be named the new head coach of Boise State. This move means A-State is looking for a new coach for the fourth season in a row, following the departure of Steve Roberts, then Hugh Freeze to Ole Miss and then Gus Malzahn to Auburn.

Earlier this morning, former Red Wolves quarterback and current sideline reporter for football broadcasts, Corey Leonard, tweeted the following: “Good luck to Coach Harsin at Boise, great situation for he and his family. Now the search starts!!”

And this


Conflicting reports (noted below) surfaced throughout the day yesterday indicating Arkansas State’s Bryan Harsin was no longer a candidate for the head coaching job for the Broncos. Reporters on the ground in Boise expected a decision late Tuesday, but no official decision was announced by the school last night.

UPDATE: 12/10/13

And now, SB Nation weighs in with a report confirming what others are reporting out of Boise. We continue to monitor the situation.


Rivals site for Boise State football reports that Bryan Harsin has withdrawn from the search process to become the new head coach at his alma mater.


News from Idaho is Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter impressed during his interview with Boise State athletic director, Mark Coyle, Monday and was slated for a second interview with the school Tuesday. This time with the Boise State’s president Bob Kustra. Reporters are saying the search is nearing its end. Many in Boise expect a new coach to be named today or possibly Wednesday.

Is it possible Arkansas State may keep a coach longer than one season?

As always, we will continue to update this post as new information becomes available.

New at 2:30 this afternoon in Idaho from an interview with former Boise State football coach Chris Petersen:


And Football Scoop reports:


UPDATE: 12/9/13


And from Boise, this news:


More from the Idaho Statesman:

Arkansas State football coach Bryan Harsin and Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter are scheduled to interview for the Boise State head job Monday, a source told the Idaho Statesman.

The catch with Harsin: He has a $1.75 million buyout designed to prevent him from becoming the third straight one-and-done coach at Arkansas State. Boise State could absorb that with the money collected from Petersen’s buyout ($750,000) and a lower coach salary.

Koetter was 26-10 as the Broncos’ head coach from 1998 to 2000 and has hinted in the past that he would be interested in returning. He left to become the coach at Arizona State, where he went 40-34 with four bowl appearances in six seasons. He is in his second season as the Falcons’ coordinator.


The Idaho Press-Tribune reports the following regarding the search for a new Boise State football coach:

The search for Chris Petersen’s replacement at Boise State continued Sunday with interim coach Bob Gregory interviewing for the job with athletic director Mark Coyle.

Gregory and associate head coach Chris Strausser are believed to be the only two in-house candidates being considered.

Outside candidates include Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and Arkansas State head coach Bryan Harsin. All three have ties to Boise State.


UPDATE: 12/8/13

For his part, current Arkansas State Red Wolves head football coach Bryan Harsin, the subject of speculation for the Boise State football coach job, indicated via Twitter Saturday night he plans to see fans at the GoDaddy Bowl in Mobile in January.


UPDATE: 12/7/13

Pete Roussel of Coaching Search reports a source tells him Boise State would like to interview Bryan Harsin.


With the news of Chris Petersen heading to Washington to become the new head football coach of the Huskies, speculation is growing on who Boise State football will name as its team’s new coach.

For it’s part, Boise State released a statement about its coaching search that has been reported by USA Today.

“We wish Chris Petersen and his family all the best in their future endeavors,” Boise State athletic director Mark Coyle said in a statement. “Chris is an outstanding coach and role model, and we know he’ll be successful at Washington. We have started a national search for our next head football coach at Boise State and will work tirelessly to find the perfect fit to continue the ascension of Bronco football.”

“I know Bronco Nation joins me in thanking Chris Petersen for all he did to advance Boise Sate’s football program over the past thirteen years,” Boise State President Bob Kustra said. “He is not only a great coach but a great person and an asset to the community. We were lucky to have him at Boise State and Washington is lucky to get him. We wish Chris and Barbara the very best.

“Boise State fans, players and students know this program was built one brick at a time, with a succession of coaches who moved us to the next level. Our program has advanced steadily with an amazing amount of success through all those years, and we will be looking forward, not backward, making sure that we continue that success. Bronco Nation deserves no less.”

Neither Coyle nor Kustra will have any other comments on this or the coaching search at this time, the school said.

Former Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore offers this to the Idaho Statesman on who he thinks should be the next coach of the Broncos:

It’ll be interesting to see what happens, I’d love to still keep the connection. In-house, there are obviously guys, and some that are at different places that fit that. Names like (Bryan) Harsin, Dirk (Koetter) is one of those guys who got it going. … I think having an understanding of the culture, it’s a very unique culture. Someone who understands that, what Boise State is all about.”

The Idaho Statesman outlines potential Boise State football coach replacements, reporting this and talks to Bryan Harsin’s father, Dale Harsin…

Three coaches with extensive ties to the Boise State football program have emerged as the most likely successors to departed coach Chris Petersen, the Idaho Statesman learned Friday night.

Former defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, former offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin and former coach Dirk Koetter would allow the Broncos to maintain a sense of continuity while infusing some new energy into the program.

[Harsin] has an onerous, $1.75 million buyout designed to prevent the Red Wolves from losing their coach for the third straight year.

Still, Harsin is interested.

“This is where he’s wanted to be for a long time — probably a couple years sooner than he wanted it to be,” his father, Dale Harsin of Boise, said.

All three former BSU coaches were mentioned by ex-players as good fits.

“I’m sure they’ll do their search and everything,” former cornerback Brandyn Thompson (2007-10) said. “If I had a vote, it’d definitely be for Coach Wilcox or Coach Harsin.” 

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports in Saturday’s newspaper that as of Friday, Arkansas State University’s athletic director, Terry Mohajir, had not been contacted by any school asking to interview Harsin.

From the “Ticker” we have this, raising questions on whether or not Arkansas State’s head football coach of less than one year, Bryan Harsin, is a candidate for the Boise State job.

Boise State: Do not count out current Boise State assistants Chris Strausser and Bob Gregory for the Boise State head coaching job. Strausser is the offensive line / run game coordinator / associate head coach. Gregory is the linebackers / assistant head coach.

Boise State: It will be interesting to see if Boise State targets Justin Wilcox or Bryan Harsin.

Arkansas State: If Harsin lands the Boise State job, it will be interesting to see if Arkansas State targets Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee (30) or Cincinnati offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Eddie Gran, who finished as the runner-up to Harsin.  Arkansas State, who would be on their fifth head coach in five years, could also opt for continuity and promote defensive coordinator John Thompson.


Bryan Harsin was a member of the Boise State team as a college athlete, is a Boise native and served as an assistant at the school. Here is Harsin’s full bio:

Arkansas State Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir announced at a Dec. 12 press conference that Bryan Harsin, a 13-year coaching veteran at the NCAA FBS level who has coached in 10 bowl games as either an assistant or offensive coordinator, has been named the Red Wolves’ 29th all-time head football coach.

Harsin, a finalist for the 2009 Broyles Award recognizing the top assistant coach in the country, has been associated with two nationally-prominent programs during his rise to A-State’s head coach.  Working closely with Chris Petersen at Boise State and Mack Brown at Texas, two of the most well-respected coaches in the country, Harsin spent the last seven seasons as an offensive coordinator with the Broncos and Longhorns.

Harsin served the last two seasons as Texas’ co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach after spending the previous 10 on the Boise State staff, including the last five as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach as well.  During his tenure at both schools, he guided offenses that consistently ranked among the nation’s best in almost every statistical category.

In his first season at Texas, he had the task of putting a new offense in place with a young group that featured 10 different freshmen and sophomores starting for the Longhorns. Despite its youth, the offense was able to put up over 500 yards of total offense four times and rank 21st nationally in rushing offense with 202.6 yards per game. The team ran for over 400 yards in back-to-back games against Kansas (441) and Texas Tech (439), marking just the fifth and sixth 400-yard rushing performances by Texas since 1980. Harsin helped guide three different starting quarterbacks to 2,360 yards and 12 touchdowns in addition to the offense creating four other passing touchdowns.

His influence on the offense continued to pay dividends for 23rd-ranked Texas this season as the Longhorns climbed 31 places to No. 24 in the nation in scoring with 36.1 points per game.  Under Harsin’s direction, Texas also generated 441 yards total offense per game this year and ranks ninth in the nation in passing efficiency.  The Longhorns posted over 400 yards total offense in nine games and scored at least 30 in eight, including a season-high 66 against Ole Miss.  Texas’ Harsin-coached quarterbacks this season have combined to throw 23 touchdowns and both have a pass efficiency rating that ranks among the top 20 players in the nation.

He was at the helm of the Boise State offense during a five-year period where the Broncos posted a 61-5 record that included two undefeated seasons, which were capped by Fiesta Bowl wins over TCU in 2009 (14-0) and Oklahoma in 2006 (13-0). They reached at least 12 wins in four of his five seasons as coordinator and had three Top 10 finishes, including ranking No. 5/6 in 2006, No. 4/4 in 2009, and No. 10/10 entering the 2010 bowl season. In 2008, they finished just outside the Top 10 at No. 11/13.

In his five seasons as offensive coordinator at Boise State, Harsin’s offenses were in the top five nationally in scoring four times, capped by ranking first in 2009 (42.2 ppg) and second in 2010 (45.1 ppg). They also ranked second in 2006 (39.7 ppg), fourth in 2007 (42.4 ppg) and 12th in 2008 (37.6 ppg). In all, Boise State averaged 41.4 ppg during his time as coordinator.

The Broncos ranked in the Top 10 in total offense in three of Harsin’s seasons as coordinator and were no lower than 18th in all five of his years, culminating in 2010 with an average of 521.3 ypg, which set the BSU school record and ranked second nationally. In those five seasons, the Broncos offense averaged 459.9 ypg.

As quarterbacks coach, Harsin guided Kellen Moore into becoming one of the nation’s most productive quarterbacks. In 2010, Moore was named first-team All-America by the Football Writers Association of America and became Boise State’s first Heisman Trophy finalist. He was also a finalist for the Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award and Manning Award and was named the nation’s top quarterback by The Touchdown Club of Columbus., and named Moore first-team All-America, the Associated Press named him third-team All-America, while he also finished seventh in the 2009 Heisman voting and earned Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors.

In his third season as offensive coordinator, Harsin’s 2008 unit was taken over by Moore, who was a redshirt freshman. Moore would compile one of the most outstanding seasons by any Broncos quarterback, finishing the year with a NCAA freshman record 69.4 completion percentage (281-of-405), 25 touchdown passes and just 10 interceptions. He was also named WAC Freshman of the Year.

In Harsin’s first season as offensive coordinator, the 2006 Broncos went undefeated and running back Ian Johnson led the country in rushing touchdowns and scoring. He also set a school single-season record with 1,713 yards. He was named to four separate All-America teams and finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

From 2002-05 Harsin served as tight ends coach at BSU. That unit played a vital role in a Broncos offense that led the nation in scoring twice and finished in the top 10 in scoring in each of those four years. In 2005, four Broncos tight ends combined to catch 27 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns. In 2004, Harsin helped the tight ends contribute to the top-scoring offense in school history (48.9 ppg).

In his four seasons as tight ends coach and one as a graduate assistant, Boise State had a record of 53-11, making the Broncos record in his 10 seasons there 114-16.

Prior to coaching the tight ends, Harsin was a graduate assistant with the Broncos in 2001. He was a member of the Bronco football team from 1995-1999, earning three varsity letters. He served as Boise State’s backup quarterback in 1999 when the team went 10-3 and won the Humanitarian Bowl.

After graduating from Boise State in 2000 with a degree in business management, Harsin entered the coaching profession at Eastern Oregon, coaching running backs and receivers during the 2000 season.

Harsin and his wife, Kes, have two daughters, Devyn Lynn and Dayn Mykena, and a son, Davis. Harsin is a graduate of Capital High School in Boise.

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