Mike Sanford Jr., Marcel Yates will be Boise State football team’s coordinators

By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman


Boise State has announced the hirings of Marcel Yates (defensive coordinator) and Mike Sanford (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach).

From the press releases:

Coach Bryan Harsin on Yates: “Being able to bring a coach, and person, of high quality like Marcel to our program is a home run. We worked and played together at Boise State, and he is one of the sharpest defensive minds in the country. Marcel has always connected with his players and is an outstanding recruiter. During his two years at Texas A&M he has developed great recruiting ties to the state of Texas and throughout the SEC.”

Yates: “It’s an honor for me and my family to come back to Boise State. As excited as I am, I understand I have big shoes to fill. Coach Petersen and his staff have left Boise State in a great position, and I am elated about the opportunity to help continue this success. The last two years at Texas A&M have been great. I’ve learned so much from Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M Head Coach) and Mark Snyder (Texas A&M Defensive Coordinator). Coaching in the SEC was a great experience. I would like to thank them both for the opportunity to grow as a man and as a coach.”

Harsin on Sanford: “I tried to hire Mike last year at Arkansas State and feel fortunate we are able to bring him back to Boise. Mike is a young, bright coach, and having played the quarterback position at Boise State, he has a great understanding of what we are trying to do. Mike has built up a great coaching background since his playing days as a Bronco, and I look forward to building the offense with him.”

Sanford: “I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to return to my alma mater, which I’ve always believed to be one of the elite football programs in the country. This is a great time in the history of Boise State’s storied program and I cannot wait to work alongside Coach Harsin and the rest of the new staff. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Harsin as a person and as a football coach. My family cannot wait to return to one of the best places to live in the country.”


Former Boise State assistant coach and player Marcel Yates will return as the defensive coordinator under new coach Bryan Harsin, a source told the Idaho Statesman on Wednesday.

Also, former Boise State backup quarterback Mike Sanford Jr. will be the offensive coordinator, a separate source told the Statesman.

Yates is in his second year as the co-defensive coordinator at Texas A&M, but he is not the play caller there.

Yates left for Texas A&M after the 2011 season. He was the Boise State cornerbacks coach from 2003 to 2005 and defensive backs coach from 2006 to 2011. He also is a strong recruiter known for his work in his native Los Angeles. His playing career ended in 1999.

Sanford is in his third year on the staff at Stanford. He was the running backs coach in 2011, the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator in 2012 and the quarterbacks and wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator in 2013. He will coach the Cardinal in the Rose Bowl before heading to Boise State. His playing career ended in 2004. He lost a tight battle for the starting job that year to Jared Zabransky. Sanford also has been the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator at Western Kentucky (2010), the tight ends coach, fullbacks coach and recruiting coordinator at Yale (2009), an offensive assistant at Stanford (2007-08) and a graduate assistant at UNLV (2005-06). His dad, Mike Sanford Sr., is a former college head coach.

Also, former Boise State defensive back Gerald Alexander will join Harsin’s staff in some capacity, the source said. Alexander was a graduate assistant at Arkansas State under Harsin.

Harsin has announced the hiring of Scott Huff as offensive line coach and Andy Avalos as a defensive assistant. Kent Riddle also has agreed to join the staff as special teams coach, sources have told the Idaho Statesman.

Boise State interim head coach and linebackers coach Bob Gregory said Wednesday he has not talked to Harsin about a role on the Boise State staff.

A couple other quick notes (more to come):

— Tailback Jay Ajayi, who is eligible to enter the NFL Draft this spring, said he plans to return to Boise State.

— Gregory will play both quarterbacks — Joe Southwick and Grant Hedrick — in the Hawaii Bowl, starter to be determined.

— Wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes will be a game-time decision.

— Junior tailback Derrick Thomas is suspended for the bowl game for violating team standards and won’t make the trip. He is the only player not making the trip at this point.

— The Seattle Times reports that quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith will join the staff at Washington. Other reports say Brent Pease will be the wide receivers coach for the Huskies.

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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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