The wait wasn’t long. Boise State had their top three selected pretty quickly after Coach Chris Peterson accepted the Washington job. Their top three consisted of Bryan Harsin, Justin Wilcox, and Dirk Koetter. All three had coached at Boise State in the past but only one played his college football career with the Broncos and his high school career in Boise, Bryan Harsin.
Harsin has something no other coach in the recent past has, ties to Boise. Not only did he play for Boise State, he also played and graduated from Capital High School, also in Boise. This is certainly a recipe for a long lasting stay at the helm of the Broncos. His entire career seems to have been built for this moment. He was widely considered Coach Pete’s successor some time ago; however, it was decided Harsin needed to get away from Boise for a while. Learn some new things from other coaches and programs. He initially left Boise State in 2011 as the co-offensive coordinator at Texas. He remained there for two years, which led to a head coach job at Arkansas State.
His high school career followed that of one the greatest quarterbacks to ever come out of the state of Idaho, Jake Plummer. He had two solid seasons as the starting quarterback then walked on at Boise State. As a senior, he backed up one of the best quarterbacks in Boise State history, Bart Hendricks. Harsin never got a start in five years at Boise State; however, he still earned a scholarship and a degree.
His first stint as a coach was at Eastern Oregon, where he would spend only one season before coming back to Boise as a graduate assistant in 2001. He first tried applied for the tight ends coaching vacancy but wasn’t hired. He received some sound advice from Jeff Pitman, strength and conditioning coach, “You can’t be walking around here all pissed off. You can’t let them see that,” Pitman told Harsin. “You’ve got to work on what they think you need to work on.” Harsin would do just that. He spent time learning all he could about all aspects of offensive play, the passing game as well as the running game. In July the following year, he would get that tight ends job he applied for just six months earlier.
In 2006 he earned the role as offensive coordinator, the position vacated by Peterson when he was hired as the head coach of the Broncos. Harsin would hold the position from 2006 till 2010. A stretch that included 61 wins, four conference titles, and two Fiesta Bowl Championships.
Harsin will probably have to fill in the majority of his own staff as it is expected most of the current Broncos staff will follow Coach Pete to Washington. Some of those who were on Coach Harsin’s staff at Arkansas State will more than likely fill some of those vacancies, coaches that include former Boise State players such as Bush Hamden, Gerald Alexander, Julius Brown, and Lee Marks. The new staff could potentially have a few returning coaches to Boise State as well, such as Kent Riddle, special teams, and Pittman.
For the most part, the feeling around Boise is a positive one. A home grown kid comes home to lead his alma mater, his dream. Coach Pete seems to have fulfilled his dream at Washington, which has allowed Coach Hars to fulfill his dream as well. Not since Coach Allen has a coach stayed in Boise as long as Coach Pete. Coach Hars may very well be around longer. In fact, if ever there was a perfect recipe for finding a perfect fit for a coach, this would be it. The question now is can he continue what Coach Allen started so many years ago. Can he continue what every coach since then as continued, can he take Boise State to even greater heights than Coach Pete? Only time will tell. The Coach Hars era has begun.
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