After over two weeks of speculation and rumor surrounding the search to replace Bryan Harsin, it has been announced that Andy Avalos is the next head coach of the Boise State Broncos.
Avalos was chosen after an interview process that reportedly included former Boise State quarterback extraordinaire Kellen Moore (currently the OC with the Dallas Cowboys), former Boise State assistant coach Jeff Choate (currently the HC at Montana State), Florida offensive coordinator Brain Johnson, and USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell.
The hire was made a week after Boise State filled the vacant athletic director position with former Baylor associate VP for athletics Jeramiah Dickey. In Dickey’s introductory press conference, he promised a wide-reaching search to fill Harsin’s shoes and that the hire would be an elite coach. Boise State coaching legend Chris Petersen was reportedly a consultant for the university in the coaching search.
The Saga of the Boise State Coaching Search
Bryan Harsin accepted the head coaching job at Auburn on December 22nd, 2020. After taking a moment to shake off the initial shock, Boise State fans immediately turned their attention to power ranking a replacement. The leading candidate for Bronco fans was Andy Avalos.
This should be simple then, right? Guess again. The coaching search lasted 17 days, included an athletic director hire along the way, pitted Boise State fans against former Boise State players at times, and seemingly would never end.
The initial rumors suggested that Kellen Moore, Andy Avalos, and Jeff Choate were at the top of the wish list for Boise State. Kellen Moore, really? Really. This began the fever dreams for Bronco fans. Would the prodigal son return? It seemed likely. Local and national media were reporting that Moore was interested, and the winningest college football quarterback of all-time even announced that he was “going through the process.”
Then, as quickly as the idea came, it left. Moore signed a three-year extension with the Dallas Cowboys and the search marched on.
Enter Jeramiah Dickey. After announcing that Boise State would hire an athletic director before they hired a head coach, Dickey was hired on January 2nd, 11 days after the head coaching job became available. With the announcement came a flurry of rumors about the head coaching position.
First came the news that Dickey followed Louisiana-Layfette HC Billy Napier on Twitter. Next the reports that Boise State would interview Florida’s Brain Johnson and USC’s Graham Harrell. Ultimately, and inevitably, Flight Tracker got involved to crack the case.
On Thursday, a private plane left Boise heading to Bozeman, Montana. After talks with Jeff Choate, the plane fueled up and headed to Eugene, Oregon to meet with Andy Avalos.
Hours after Bryan Harsin left for Auburn and the SEC, Boise State fans were clamoring for Andy Avalos to return to The Blue, after 17 agonizing days, they got their wish. Andy Avalos is the next head coach of Boise State University.
Andy’s Football Journey
Andy Avalos, 39, was born and raised in Corona, California. He played high school football at Corona High School, where he caught the eye of Boise State coaches. The linebacker was at Boise State from 2001 – 2005 and finished his career as a two-time WAC first teamer. Avalos is 4th in career tackles for the Broncos and was named to the All-Blue team consisting of the top 30 players in the history of the Blue Turf.
After graduating from Boise State, Avalos continued in football, coaching at Corona High School before taking GA and position coaching jobs at Colorado, Nebraska-Kearney, and Sacramento State.
In 2012, Avalos returned to Boise State to coach the defensive line. In 2014, under head coach Bryan Harsin, Avalos moved to the linebacker room to coach the position he played throughout his career. After success as the coach for both positions, he was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2016.
As defensive coordinator, Avalos enjoyed continued success. In his three years on the job the defense never finished below 40th in the nation on defense. He also developed a reputation for tailoring a game plan to a specific opponent. Avalos could scheme against Air force or Washington State and every team in between. Of note, Boise State was among the nation’s leaders in forcing turnovers while Avalos was at Boise State.
The success led to opportunity to the dismay of Bronco Nation. After the 2018 season, Avalos took the defensive coordinator job at Oregon. Now, with two additional years of experience, Avalos returns to Boise.
In many ways the announcement of Andy Avalos to Boise State is the most obvious announcement in the world. In one specific way, it is an unusual turn of events. Andy Avalos will be the first head coach with a background in defense in 25 years. Not since Pokey Allen and the days of the Big Sky Conference has a defensive minded coach ruled the roost at Boise State. The times they are a changing, though.
Avalos returns to a Boise State football program that is a little worse for the wear. The university is strapped for cash after a shortened COVID19 season and years of falling attendance at football games. Boise State hired an athletic director with a background in fundraising and hopes that Andy’s return will be a boon for both fundraising and attendance.
Now the real work begins. First up for the defensive guru will be putting together what may be the most anticipated staff in school history. In a twist, Bronco fans will be anxiously awaiting the announcement of coaches on the offensive side of the ball.
Will Avalos bring in a Petersen/Harsin disciple? Will he bring in a coordinator with a ground and pound style to compliment the defense? Time will tell, but it’s the first test for the first-time head coach.
Next, Avalos will finish off a promising recruiting class by signing players during the late signing period. Avalos is known as an ace recruiter, and his recent PAC12 ties could help to reel in a surprise in the 2021 class. How he fills out his staff will also undoubtably shape the incoming 2021 recruiting class.
Ultimately, after a long and trying wait, Boise State hired the head coach that fans wanted 17 days ago. Andy Avalos has returned to Boise State to lead the program into the future. Long may he reign.