Bryan Harsin has been hired as head coach of the Boise State football team, Director of Athletics Mark Coyle announced Wednesday.
A member of the Boise State coaching staff from 2001-10, Harsin takes over for Chris Petersen, who left the Broncos to become head coach at Washington last week. Harsin has since served as co-offensive coordinator at Texas (2011-12) and head coach at Arkansas State (2013).
“We are extremely excited in our selection of Bryan Harsin as the next head football coach at Boise State,” Coyle said. “Bryan is one of the top young head coaches in college football and we are thrilled to bring him back to Boise to lead the Bronco program. Bryan played a key role in the development of the football program as an assistant for 10 years at Boise State and we look forward to his leadership as we continue the ascension of Bronco football.”
“We’re coming home,” Harsin said. “Kes and I are thrilled about returning to Boise State. It’s a special place built by special people. One of the hardest decisions we ever made was leaving Boise. We did that so I could become a better coach, so I could one day have the opportunity to return as head coach — that day has arrived.
“I appreciate the history and tradition of the Boise State program,” Harsin continued. “I embrace that success but won’t rest on it. We will build this program every day with a sense of urgency. I can’t wait to get to work. Go Broncos!”
“I am very excited to welcome Bryan Harsin back to Bronco Nation,” Boise State President Bob Kustra said. “His return is great news for all of us who do not want to lose momentum with the national reputation the program has achieved. We hear time and time again from current and former players and coaches that the Boise State system is unique in its discipline, rigor and innovation — on the field and in the classroom. And Coach Harsin knows and understands the Boise State way as much as anyone. As we write the next chapter of Bronco football history, I know it will continue to bring distinction to Boise State University.”
A graduate of Capital High School in Boise, Harsin was Petersen’s offensive coordinator for five of his eight seasons as head coach (2006-10) and was named a finalist for the 2009 Broyles Award, awarded annually to the nation’s top assistant coach. Boise State went 61-5 during his tenure as offensive coordinator, including undefeated seasons in 2006 (13-0) and 2009 (14-0), and an undefeated regular season in 2008.
With Harsin at the helm, Boise State finished in the top-25 nationally each season in both total offense and scoring offense. The Broncos led the country in scoring in 2009 (42.21) and finished as the nation’s second-highest scoring team in both 2006 (39.69) and 2010 (45.08). Boise State also ranked second nationally in total offense in 2010 (521.31), and added top-10 finishes in the statistical category in 2006 and 2009.
Boise State finished no lower than 12th in scoring offense during his time as offensive coordinator and no lower than 18th in total offense.
As quarterbacks coach, Harsin mentored Kellen Moore, the winningest quarterback in college football history, during his first four seasons as a Bronco. Moore, now with the Detroit Lions, was named first-team All-America by the Football Writers Association of America in 2010, and became Boise State’s first Heisman Trophy finalist that same season.
The former Bronco letter-winner began his coaching career at Boise State as a graduate assistant in 2001, before taking over the tight ends as a full-time assistant coach from 2002-05. When Petersen was hired as head coach in 2006, Harsin assumed the role of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
The Broncos are in the midst of the seventh-longest active streak in the nation of consecutive bowl appearances (12), and Harsin was a part of each of the first nine – including the team’s victories in both the 2007 and 2010 Tostitos Fiesta Bowls.
With Harsin on staff, Boise State also won eight conference championships.
While with Texas, Harsin helped guide the ascension of an offense that ranked 88th in scoring prior to his arrival, to No. 24 nationally in 2012 (36.1). Despite starting 10 freshmen and sophomores on offense during his first season with the Longhorns, Texas put up more than 500 yards of total offense five times and ranked 21st-nationally in rushing (202.6). The Longhorns rushed for more than 400 yards in back-to-back games, just the fifth and sixth such performances all-time at Texas.
In his second season at Texas, Harsin, who also coached quarterbacks and mentored two different student-athletes that finished the season ranked in the top 20 in passing efficiency. Texas averaged more than 441 yards per game.
Harsin then earned his first head coaching opportunity at Arkansas State in 2013, which claimed a share of the Sun Belt Conference championship this season, as the Red Wolves finished 7-5 overall and 5-2 in league play. A-State earned a bid to the GoDaddy.com Bowl this season.
The Red Wolves ranked fifth nationally in completion percentage in 2013 (.693) and were one of the best teams in the country at taking care of the football. Arkansas State lost just 13 turnovers this season, the seventh-fewest in the country. The Red Wolves threw just six interceptions, the 10th-fewest in the nation.
Additionally the team’s rushing attack ranked 29th-nationally, averaging 206 yards per game.
Harsin was a member of the Bronco football team from 1995-99, earning three varsity letters. Following his graduation with a degree in business management, Harsin coached running backs and receivers at Eastern Oregon in 2000.
Harsin and his wife Kes have two daughters, Devyn Lynn and Dayn Mykena, and a son, Davis.