Potential Boise State Coaching Candidates To Replace Bryan Harsin
Could a former coach be back on the blue?
The Broncos wishlist
Boise State is in the need of a new head coach as Bryan Harsin is on his way to be the next head coach at Auburn. Harsin is replacing Gus Malzhan who spent nearly a decade with the Tigers, and this will be the second time this scenario happened. Previously, it was when Harsin took over the Arkansas State job for Malzhan, but these are clearly different scenarios.
The Broncos now are on the search for a new head coach and this search is a bit unique as Boise State also does not have an athletic director. The AD is usually the one that makes the hire so who knows if this will be drawn out to find an AD first and then a coach or vice versa with the school president making this decision.
We have put together some candidates that should be considered. Some are a reach but likely names that will pop up.
Kellen Moore, Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator
This will be the name that nearly EVERY Boise State fan would want to see as its next head coach. Best quarterback ever during the best era for Broncos football. The current Cowboys offensive coordinator already has a really good gig and has his sights on an NFL head coaching job.
If Kellen Moore's not the next Boise State head coach by tomorrow, we're rioting.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 22, 2020
However, he is a legend in Boise and would be given a lot of room to work with to get comfortable in the job. The 32-year-old has never coached at the college level and it is a different beast by having to recruit year after year compared to how talent is acquired.
Chris Petersen, Not employed
Let’s be 100% this is not going to happen but Boise State needs to make the call. Best coach ever and he left Washington just because he wanted to go out on his own terms. Perhaps being the athletic director could work for him in a similar way Barry Alvarez’s career transitioned after he was done coaching Wisconsin.
Would Chris Petersen come back to Boise?
— Jeff Hansen (@rakoto10) December 23, 2020
Andy Avalos, Oregon Defensive Coordinator
This is going to be the most logical and likely choice. He is a former Broncos coach and was there from 2014-18 before leaving for the Ducks in 2019. While at Euguene, he has produced some great defenses, including a top-10 squad in 2019. The Ducks are also back-to-back conference champions.
Mike Sanford, Jr., Minnesota Offensive Coordinator
Sanford has bounced around a lot of jobs and mostly out West. He was Boise State’s offensive coordinator in 2014 and parlayed that into the same position at Notre Dame. He does have head coaching experience at Western Kentucky where he spent two years with a record of 9-16. He has coached out West at Utah State and Stanford. He currently is the offensive coordinator at Minnesota and in 2019 had a great showing but 2020 took a dip.
Sanford does seem like a guy who always has an eye on a better opportunity and despite coaching a year in Boise, any success he might jump at for a bigger job.
Beau Baldwin, Cal Poly Head Coach
Baldwin’s claim to fame was overseeing the Eastern Washington where he had an 85-32 record overall, won an FCS national title, and appeared in six playoffs. He moved on to Cal be its offensive coordinator with just OK success. Baldwin is back at the FCS ranks as the head coach of Cal Poly but has not had a season yet.
Morgan Scalley, Utah Defensive Coordinator
This is a bit of a wild card. Scalley was in line to be the next Utah head coach, but old texts that revealed he used racial slurs basically ended the handshake agreement. Now, if Scalley is going to be a head coach at Utah he will need to go somewhere else first. He has been in charge of some really good defenses with a pair of top 10 defenses in 2018 and 2019. He is responsible for 12 NFL Draft picks on the defense from 2016, but the only question is it his defense or Kyle Whittingham who is a defensive-minded coach.
Dirk Koetter, Atlanta Falcons Offensive Coordinator
Koetter would be a return visit to Boise State when he was the head coach from 1998-2000 with a 26-10 record. He moved onto Arizona State and then moved onto the NFL as an offensive coordinator for a number of teams, plus a three-year head coaching stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His current job with the Falcons may not last after this year as Atlanta fired Dan Quinn during the season.
Lance Leipold, Buffalo Head Coach
This is an out of the box hire. Leipold is a Division III legend as he won six titles and appeared in a seventh championship game. In six years at Buffalo, he has been to two MAC title games and a record of 36-33. This would be a step up from the MAC and a coach who is a winner. He had to rebuild the Bulls and who knows what he could do by going into a program that is already a conference contender.
Buffalo up, 70-41, on Kent State in a battle for first in the MAC East. Bulls set to improve to 4-0. Here is our story from last spring on the work of former Whitewater coach Lance Leipold and his staff. https://t.co/8nLKb503bT
— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) November 28, 2020
Gerald Alexander, Miami Dolphins Secondary Coach
This one is out of the box that could work. The former Broncos defensive spent five seasons in the NFL and produced a solid string of Cal defensive backfields. The big knock is that this would be a huge jump from an NFL position coach to a college head coach.
Jay Hill, Weber State Head Coach
Hill might be waiting out to get the Utah job but maybe a move to Boise State could bridge that gap, if the call ever comes to go to Salt Lake City. Hill is an offensive guru and turned around a bottom-dwelling team in the Big Sky to a contender for an FCS championship.
Jeff Grimes, BYU Offensive Coordinator
Another regional move that could work for Boise State. Grimes is leading one of the best offenses in 2020 led by quarterback Zach Wilson who is a future first-round NFL Draft pick. He has bounced around the country as an offensive line coach in places that include LSU, Virginia Tech, Auburn, Colorado, and a one year stint at Boise State in 2000.
This is a clip of #BYU just shown on GameDay. I remember talking 2 years ago to Cougars OC Jeff Grimes about his offense.
He mentioned that he’s using some stuff from Matt Canada’s playbook (they were both on staff at LSU in 2017).
Here it is: pre-snap shift & jetsweep motion. pic.twitter.com/0acfxgC3vG
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) December 5, 2020
Andy Ludwig, Utah Offensive Coordinator
Ludwig is in the same vein as Grimes as he has bounced around as an offensive coordinator at eight different schools, most of them on the West Coast, including San Diego State and Fresno State. He also was at Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, and Cal. Plus, he is also a former Boise State coach when he was overseeing the quarterbacks for the 1995 and 1996 seasons.
When Andy Ludwig has a stern talk with the offense at halftime: pic.twitter.com/kX0kskjwaw
— Utebuntu (@Utebuntu) December 19, 2020
The one concern is all of the bouncing around to different jobs and has yet to be called upon as a head coach. However, is best stint might be his second go around at Utah. Ludwig’s most impressive achievement at Utah was turning QB Tyler Huntley into an NFL signal-caller and established a great ground game with Zach Moss who is now in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and this year freshman Ty Jordan who won offensive freshman of the year in the Pac-12.
Jeff Choate, Montana State Head Coach
He has Idaho ties as he was a high school coach in Idaho from 1994-2001 and also coached the linebackers and running backs at Boise State from 2006-11. Choate also coached in the region at Utah State, Washington and Washington State.
There’s a lot of support among former players for Montana State head coach Jeff Choate.https://t.co/x6q6XIh0Dm
— Ron Counts (@Ron_BroncoBeat) December 23, 2020
His biggest claim is his current job as the Montana State head coach. He has done a nice rebuilding job and in year one he had four wins but in year three he took them to the FCS playoffs and las tyear an 11-win seasonand a trip to the FCS national semifinals.