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Bryan Harsin Era begins at Boise State

New head coach Bryan Harsin is the latest in a long succession of successful head coaches at Boise State

Dec 13, 2013; Boise, ID, USA; The media board at Bronco Stadium announces the return of Boise State Broncos new head football coach Bryan Harsin.
Dec 13, 2013; Boise, ID, USA; The media board at Bronco Stadium announces the return of Boise State Broncos new head football coach Bryan Harsin.
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Beginning with head coach Tony Knapp (1968-1975 with a record of 71-19), Boise State has been turning out great coaches as well great players and outstanding quarterbacks. Knapp was followed by head coach Jim Criner (1976-1982) with a record of 59-21 and a 1980 Divison I-AA national championship to add to his credit.

The last 15 years have only underscored the line of successful head coaches at Boise State. Many credit Dirk Koetter (1998-2000) with Boise State’s current run in the BCS era. His record with the Broncos was 26–10 and included two Big West Conference titles and two bowl victories. He left for not-so-greener pastures at Arizona State.

Koetter's assistant, Dan Hawkins, took over the reins from 2001-2005 and was 53-11 during his five years that included four straight WAC titles. At the time only Walter Camp, George Woodruff and Bob Pruett had more total wins in their first five years of coaching. Hawkins also holds a 31–game WAC winning streak, the longest in conference history. But in the end he also left for not-so-greener pastures at Colorado.

Next up was Hawkins’ offensive coordinator, Chris Petersen (2006-2013) who amassed an astounding 92-12 record, five conference championships, and two BCS bowl wins (the 2007 and 2010 Fiesta Bowls). Coach Pete is the only two-time winner of the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award and is the winningest active coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision ranks.

It’s understandable that when Petersen recently announced he was leaving Boise State for Washington, most Boise State fans were very concerned. But now that a new head coach is on board that concern is starting to change to cautious optimism. And with good reason: new head coach Bryan Harsin had an outstanding record as the offensive coordinator under Petersen. It was during his tenure that Boise State posted a 61-5 record, which included two undefeated seasons and those two Fiesta Bowl victories.

What is telling has been Harsin's quick response to shore up the football program and bolster the confidence of the players, while not wasting any time in putting together an impressive staff that is capable of taking the Broncos to the next level. Texas A&M co-defensive coordinator Marcel Yates has joined him to head up a defense that until this year was ranked as one the best in the nation. Stanford’s quarterbacks and wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator, Mike Sanford has also joined Harsin as the offensive coordinator. He along with with other assistant coaches (Eliah Drinkwitz, Scott Huff, and Kent Riddle) will be retooling the offense for a debut in 2014. Riddle will also be handling the duties of Special Teams. For the latest additions to Harsin’s staff, you can click here.

No one is suggesting that Harsin will be as wildly successful as his predecessor, but if history is any judge of head coaching success at Boise State, in a couple of years we won't even be talking about coach what’s-his-name over in Washington.