Boise State is looking for a new head coach after Bryan Harsin is leaving the program to take over at Auburn. Harsin went 69-19 and guided the program to three Mountain West titles from 2014-20. Boise State is the top job in the Mountain West and has experienced success at a high level on an annual basis. The program won’t have to look far hard for interested candidates or it could try to dip into its past for a head coach.
Who could replace Harsin at Boise State? Here are nine names to watch in the coaching search:
9 Coaching Candidates to Replace Bryan Harsin at Boise State
Andy Avalos, Defensive Coordinator, Oregon
Avalos is a former Boise State linebacker and later coached at the program from 2012-18, including the last three as the program’s defensive coordinator. Avalos has called the plays for the last two seasons for Oregon’s defense and is considered a rising star in the assistant ranks.
Jeff Choate, Head Coach, Montana State
Choate coached as an assistant at Boise State from 2006-11 and has spent time on the FBS level at Washington State, UTEP, Florida and Washington. He landed his first opportunity to be a head coach in college at Montana State in 2016. The Bobcats are 28-22 under Choate, including an 11-4 record in ’19. Montana State has made back-to-back trips to the FCS Playoffs after a 9-16 start to Choate’s tenure.
Bush Hamdan, Assistant Coach, Missouri
Hamdan played at Boise State but has never been a head coach at the FBS level. He’s spent time as an assistant at Florida, Arkansas State, Washington, Missouri and the in the NFL with the Falcons.
Zak Hill, Offensive Coordinator, Arizona State
Hill is a coach on the rise in the assistant ranks. The Washington native has never been a head coach but has compiled a solid resume from stints as an assistant at Eastern Washington, Hawaii and at Boise State from 2016-19. Hill worked as the offensive coordinator for the Broncos from 2017-19 and took over the play-calling duties at Arizona State in ’20.
Eric Kiesau, Offensive Coordinator, Boise State
Could Boise State find Harsin’s replacement by promoting from within? Kiesau has never been a college head coach but has spent time as an assistant at California, Utah State, Colorado, Washington, Kansas, Fresno State and Boise State. Kiesau has worked in Boise since 2017.
Dirk Koetter, Atlanta Falcons Offensive Coordinator
Koetter – an Idaho native – doesn’t need much introduction to this job. He coached at Boise State from 1998-00, recording a 26-10 mark and two bowl wins during that span. Koetter left Boise State to be the head coach at Arizona State in 2001 and won 40 games over six years. He’s also spent time as an offensive coordinator in college at UTEP, Missouri, Boston College and Oregon, along with NFL stops with the Jaguars, Buccaneers and Falcons. Koetter also went 19-29 as Tampa Bay’s head coach from 2016-18.
Kellen Moore, Offensive Coordinator, Dallas Cowboys
Is it time for the Boise State legend to come home? The Washington native had a prolific career on the blue turf as a quarterback for the Broncos, throwing for 14,667 yards and 142 touchdowns from 2008-11. He later played in the NFL with the Lions and Cowboys before becoming the quarterbacks coach for Dallas in 2018. Moore has spent the last three years with the Cowboys, including holding the offensive coordinator title since 2019.
Chris Petersen, Former Washington Head Coach
Could Boise State entice Petersen out of retirement? The answer is probably not, but the program should at least inquire. Under Petersen’s watch, the Broncos went 92-12 and lost just six conference games from 2006-13. Additionally, Boise State had four finishes in the top 10 of the final Associated Press poll. Petersen went to Washington in 2014 and compiled a 55-26 mark over six years.
Mike Sanford, Offensive Coordinator, Minnesota
Sanford played his college ball at Boise State and worked as the offensive coordinator in 2014. The Virginia native also has stops on his resume from stints at WKU, Stanford, Notre Dame, Utah State and Minnesota. However, Sanford went 9-16 at WKU from 2017-18.