BOISE, Idaho — UPDATE
For the latest on this article check out the video with analysis from Dave Southorn who has worked as a beat reporter covering Boise State football since 2007.
Boise State has announced that Spencer Danielson will take over as the Broncos interim head coach while the university begins a national search for their next football coach.
Bryan Harsin grew up in Boise. He played quarterback for the Broncos in the late ’90s, and he was the offensive coordinator during one of college football’s most memorable games when Boise State defeated Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl in dramatic fashion in 2007. In seven seasons as head coach, Harsin went 76-24 with three Mountain West championships.
On Tuesday, Auburn University officially announced that Harsin will be their 28th head coach as the Boise native with no ties to the SEC relocates to Alabama.
“I knew it would take a special opportunity to get me out of Boise and Auburn is exactly that — the chance to compete at the highest level for one of the greatest programs in college football,” said Harsin in a statement.
So now Boise State begins the search for a new head coach, and it must do so while at the same time actively working to fill its vacant athletic director position.
“Each of our head coaches has used his unique talents to enhance the excellence of this program — an excellence we have all come to expect — and we are confident that our next coach will do the same. This is an exciting time for Boise State and Bronco Athletics. A national search for our next head coach will begin immediately,” said Boise State President Marlene Tromp in a statement.
Immediately several names jump out as a possibility to replace Harsin, including former defensive coordinator Andy Avalos, who left BSU after the 2018 season to take the defensive coordinator position at Oregon.
Avalos was an all-conference linebacker for the Broncos in his junior and senior seasons and the defensive coordinator from 2012-2018, coaching future NFL players DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and most recently Curtis Weaver.
For the record: Bryan Harsin was due to make $1.865M at Boise State this year.
Andy Avalos is due $865,000 at Oregon next year and his buyout is waved if he’s hired as an FBS head coach.
— James Crepea (@JamesCrepea) December 22, 2020
There are a few notable names with Boise State connections including former coach Chris Petersen, who led the Broncos to that Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma, and their rise to glory in the years that followed. Coach “Pete” left Boise State for Washington after the 2013 season but retired after defeating the Broncos in a bowl game last year.
Kellen Moore is the winningest quarterback in college football history going 50-3 as a starter from 2008-2011. Moore went on to be a backup quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys and is now the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator.
Dirk Koetter coached at Boise State from 1998-2000. He went on to become the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and is currently the offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons.
These three have had prestigious careers but hiring any of them also appears as a long shot, unless one of them shows interest in a return to Boise State.
Other possible candidates include former Boise State offensive coordinator Zak Hill who left BSU after last season to be the offensive coordinator at Arizona State, there is former Boise State assistant Jeff Choate, who is the current head coach at Montana State, current Boise State offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau is an option if BSU wants to promote from within, and there have been several other names thrown out there.
It will be interesting to see where Boise State goes from here as fans on Twitter seem eager to push Harsin out the door after his team failed to win the Mountain West Conference championship in two of the last three years.
But Harsin’s players were also active in the community, they didn’t get in trouble very often, and his players had a graduation success rate of 87 percent.
The news of Harsin moving on also happened before he was able to inform his players at Boise State University or the recruits who recently became Broncos on signing day.