Boise State football greats Kellen Moore, Bart Hendricks, others react to Bryan Harsin hiring

By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman

I’ll fill this post with reaction and some notes on the hiring of Bryan Harsin as Boise State football coach:


— Harsin was believed to be the first Treasure Valley native to get a job as an FBS head coach when he was hired by Arkansas State. He is the first former Boise State player to get the head job at Boise State.

— People keep asking me about staff. I think interim head coach and linebackers coach Bob Gregory would be a seamless fit as defensive coordinator. He was a defensive coordinator at Cal for a long time and at Boise State in 2001. Offensive coordinator is trickier — I wouldn’t rule out current coordinator Robert Prince, former coordinator Brent Pease is on the market, current quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith could be in line for a promotion and former Boise State quarterback Mike Sanford, a position coach at Stanford, could get a call.

— As far as the Boise State staff, I expect most to end up at Washington. We have reported that running backs coach Keith Bhonapha is already there. According to sources, defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, offensive line coach Chris Strausser and defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake also have accepted positions at Washington. Besides Gregory, the guys I would say have the best chance of staying are offensive coordinator Robert Prince, if he isn’t offered a coordinator job at Washington, or quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith, if he’s offered a coordinator job here.

— At Arkansas State, Eliah Drinkwitz — a holdover from the Gus Malzahn staff — and former Boise State quarterback Bush Hamdan are co-offensive coordinators. Defensive coordinator John Thompson will be the interim coach for the bowl game for the second straight year and would seem a strong candidate to stay in Jonesboro. The first guys I’d expect to follow Harsin are cornerbacks coach/recruiting coordinator Julius Brown, a former Boise State player who was a strong recruiter in a non-coaching capacity here, and special teams coach Kent Riddle, who was the special teams coach here from 2001 to 2005. Hamdan could fit as wide receivers coach if not quarterbacks coach — he coached receivers at Florida. Other Boise State ties at Arkansas State include strength coach Jeff Pitman, assistant strength coach Lee Marks and graduate assistants Gerald Alexander and Thomas Byrd.


Kellen Moore
Connection: played QB under Harsin (2007-10)

“I’m really excited for him and his family. That’s awesome for them to be able to come home and take over the thing. I think Hars is going to do an awesome job.”

“When you think of Hars, you think of preparation, details and organization — three things that are very tied into the Boise State culture. Coach Hars is as organized of a person as you’ll meet. I think he’ll do a great job of coaching thing team and being able to oversee the whole program.”

On Chris Petersen comparison: “I think they’re very similar. Hars … he may be able to get little fiery at times, not that that’s a bad thing at times. You may see a little more emotion out of him. I really haven’t seen him on the sidelines, so that will be fun and interesting.”

Derek Schouman
Connection: played TE under Harsin (2003-06)

“I’m very excited for coach Harsin and his family. I think he’ll be great. He’ll bring a lot of knowledge and experience as well as commitment, especially being from the town.”

“Harsin was a lot of fun to play for. He was a great coach. He really helped us see the big picture of what was going on on the field on both sides of the football, both offense and defense. He had a lot of confidence in all of us as players.”

“I always thought he had the ability and mindset to do a job like this, but I never felt like he himself was putting that out there.”

“He’s football intelligent, he’s a smart guy. He does things the right way and I know from when I played under him he expects excellence and I’d assume he’d expect the same out of the players now.”

Bart Hendricks
Connection: Harsin was his backup in 1999

“He would draw up plays and talk about what he wanted to do when he was going to be a coach.”

“He knew what he was doing (as a quarterback). There’s no doubt about that — probably even more than I did. I guess I can admit that now.”

Following Petersen: “That’s not going to be easy for anybody. It certainly helps the fact that he knows how Pete operated and now he can add his little changes and tweaks, so I think that’s nice.”

Hendricks also played for Dirk Koetter and roomed with Justin Wilcox when Wilcox was a graduate assistant: “It was kind of a no-lose situation.”

Tyler Shoemaker
Connection: Recruited by Harsin, played under him 2007-10

“He’s a high-energy guy, very upbeat. He tried to be very positive and keep people engaged. That will continue to carry over.”

“He’s got a little bit of the Jon Gruden stare. I’ve had some experience with that. It means business. I’m sure there will be some staring, some smiles.”

“I’d love to see Bush (Hamdan) back. He’s a great young, up-and-coming coach. Just a good guy. … I hope to bring Boise guys back to Boise.”

Todd Simis
Connection: Capital High coach

On Harsin as a recruiter: “He’s pretty similar to Coach Pete because Coach Pete had the same responsibility when he was the offensive coordinator here. He’s a real easy guy to get along with. He seems genuine and sincere. He wants the right type of athlete, the right type of person. He’s detail-oriented. He’s going to have every base covered, basically. He’s just a good person.”

On Harsin as a high school player: “I was an assistant over at Boise High. I remember it was, ‘Thank goodness, Jake Plummer is gone.’ Bryan came in and had two good years. … He kind of kept the tradition rolling.”

“And then as a coach, I’ve just been real impressed. It starts with just his demeanor. I don’t think he’s a guy who’s easily rattled. He stays calm and seems to be creative but also level-headed. He is the same guy one day as he is the next day.”

“Every opportunity he’s had it seems like he’s stepped up and done a great job. I don’t see any reason why this would be any different.”

Chris Petersen
Connection: coached with Harsin from 2001 to 2010

“He has more Bronco history than most people. … He was there for most of his coaching life.”

“When a guy grows up and just knows one way — and it’s a good way — but I think when you go see how some things are done, a different way, some good, some not as good, that’s a healthy, beneficial process.”

On Harsin’s goal to be a head coach: “Yeah, I’m not sure what’s wrong with him. … For whatever reason, a lot of us hem and haw about being a head coach. But that was one of his goals for a long time. He was very set on it. It’s great — not only to be a head coach but to come back to your alma mater and where you grew up and all those things, that’s a really special situation.”

“He just seemed to get things very quickly. He’s smart and would figure things out rapidly.”

“On offense, philosophy wise, we’re very, very similar. It’s one of the reasons it was a really good fit. It was a really good mesh. The things we really believed in in offensive football were the same. How we’re different as head coaches, I can’t answer that one. But football wise, we’re very similar.”

The Boise State and Arkansas State offensive staffs met in the offseason as they transitioned to similar schemes. “For the kids, it will probably be a semi-easy transition because a lot of the language will probably be the same. Some will be different. There will be a lot of carryover where kids will hit the ground running.”

On hiring a guy with strong Boise State ties: “One thing I felt good about with that whole process, I really felt like it was going to be that — and I do think that’s a good thing. I just think the guys they were talking to, let alone with Hars, those were all unbelievable coaches with strong, strong Bronco ties, knowing the way that things have been done there for quite a while.”


Bryan Harsin

“We’re coming home. 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. 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!”

Athletic Director Mark Coyle

“We are extremely excited in our selection of Bryan Harsin as the next head football coach at Boise State. 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.”

President Bob Kustra

“I am very excited to welcome Bryan Harsin back to Bronco Nation. 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.”

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Chadd Cripe has spent the past 12 years as the Boise State football beat writer. You can follow him on Twitter @IDS_BroncoBeat.

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