12/11 11:44 CST Boise State hires Harsin as football coach
Boise State hires Harsin as football coach
By TODD DVORAK
BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Boise State has hired former player and offensive
coordinator Bryan Harsin to be the Broncos next head coach.
Athletic Director Mark Coyle confirmed Wednesday he had lured Harsin back to
Boise and away from Arkansas State, where Harsin served as head coach for just
The 37-year-old Harsin grew up in Boise and became a backup quarterback after
walking on to the program in the late 1990s. He then worked as an assistant
coach starting in 2001 and was elevated to offensive coordinator in 2006 by
Chris Petersen, the man he will not replace.
"We're coming home," Harsin said in a statement issued by the university. "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."
It didn't take long for Coyle to find a successor to Petersen, who left last
week to take over at Washington.
Coyle focused his search on coaches with ties to the program, including former
Broncos head coach Dirk Koetter, now the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta
Falcons. University officials have not yet released salary and contract
information for Harsin.
"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."
In his only season at Arkansas State, Harsin led the Red Hawks to a 7-5 record
and a share of the Sun Belt Conference title. The team will also play Ball
State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl later this month.
His five-year contract at Arkansas State carries a $1.75 million buyout clause
if he stepped away in the first year of the deal. His departure also makes him
the third straight Red Hawk head coach to leave after one year, a trend set by
Hughes Freeze and Gus Malzahn.
It was during Harsin's tenure as offensive coordinator at Boise State that the
team put together its most impressive string of victories and emerged as a BCS
During his tenure, Harsin oversaw and offense led on the field by quarterback
Kellen Moore, who won 50 games as a starter to become college football's
winningest quarterback. Between 2006-2010, the Broncos put together a 61-5
record, won two BCS bowls, won at least 12 games in four seasons, posted
undefeated seasons in 2006 and 2009 and led the nation in scoring in 2009.
He should also be familiar with a handful of the Broncos upperclassmen,
including junior quarterback Grant Hedrick, who was recruited by Harsin before
leaving for Texas and the front-runner to be the starting quarterback next fall.
Harsin left Boise State in 2010 to become the offensive coordinator at Texas,
helping a team that finished 88th in the nation in scoring before his arrival
to improve to 24th in just two years.
But in Boise, Harsin takes over a team that posted its worst record in nearly a
decade despite projections it would win the Mountain West Conference title.
Hurt by injuries to its starting quarterback and a young defense, the Broncos
finished 8-4 and missed out on the conference title game.
"I appreciate the history and tradition of the Boise State program," said
Harsin, a graduate of Capitol High in Boise. "I embrace the success but won't
rest on it. We will build this program every day with a sense of urgency."