Boise State Football: Former Bronco Assistant Coaches Making an Impact Elsewhere
Chris Petersen has done some remarkable things since taking over the head coaching job at Boise State in 2006. In his seven seasons in Boise he has led the Broncos to an 84-8 record, five conference championships and five bowl victories with two of those being Fiesta Bowls.
Add to all of that the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award once and the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award twice, and you have an incredible list of accomplishments and accolades.
However, one of the most impressive and sometimes overlooked achievements that Petersen has brought to the table is his ability not only to build up excellent football players, but to pick, plant and promote hand-selected assistant coaches who seem to excel under Petersen's leadership.
Many of those same assistants have moved on after some success in Boise, but they have proved that what they learned under Petersen has equipped them for much more.
Let's look at a list of some of those coaches and what they are up to now.
Marcel Yates became an assistant coach before Petersen was promoted to head coach. However, it was under Petersen that Yates excelled.
Yates led the Boise secondary for six seasons and was promoted by Petersen to defensive pass game coordinator in 2011. Texas A&M took notice of the tremendous success that Coach Yates had as a Bronco, and in 2012 he was hired by the Aggies as the co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach.
Under Yates, the Aggies had a very good defense last season. Overall, they finished 26th in points against the defense. They allowed an average of just 21.8 points per contest and forced 12 interceptions on the year.
Texas A&M finished 11-2 overall and 6-2 in the SEC. That included the remarkable upset of Alabama. In that game, the Aggies defense held the Crimson Tide to 24 points and forced two interceptions.
Look for Yates to continue to excel, and don't be surprised if one day he lands a head coaching job.
Brent Pease is another coach who didn't start as a Bronco, but it is certainly where he raised himself to an elite level.
He was hired by Chris Petersen in 2006 as a wide receivers coach, but was quickly elevated to an assistant head coach in 2007. In 2011, Petersen promoted Pease to quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.
Under Pease, the Broncos had a very potent and feared offense. If it wasn't for the single loss to TCU in 2011 the Broncos would have found themselves in another BCS contest.
Because of his success at Boise State, the University of Florida came calling in 2012. Pease was hired as the offensive coordinator for the Gators, and in his first year with Florida, he helped lead his new team to a Sugar Bowl appearance.
In a true show of support of the Broncos and Petersen, Pease made time to attend the Boise State vs. Nevada game in December. He was there wearing a Boise State hat and cheering on his former team.
Pease is an Idaho native having been born in Moscow. However, Broncos fans have never held that against him. It will be interesting to see how Pease does in 2013. He is another coach that is certainly in line for a head coaching job someday.
Justin Wilcox is a name Boise State fans know well. He got his start as a graduate assistant at Boise State in 2001. However, he was then hired by Cal as a linebackers coach where he spent a few seasons before Petersen hired him in 2006.
Chris Petersen took a chance hiring Wilcox as the defensive coordinator at the ripe old age of 30. The young coach commanded the Boise State defense for four seasons before being plucked away by Tennessee in 2010.
Wilcox was then hired by Washington in 2012 where he remains the defensive coordinator. Under Wilcox, the Huskies have a much improved defense and they gave the Broncos a very tough game in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas.
Of course, all Boise State fans realize that the two teams are going to meet again in the 2013 season opener, and you know Wilcox will have his defense ready.
Wilcox is another coach that could be a head coach someday. However, defensive coordinators don't usually have as many opportunities as their offensive counterparts.
Jeff Choate is another coach that blossomed under Petersen's leadership. He came on board with Petersen in 2006.
In his time at Boise State, Choate was the running backs coach for three seasons and the special teams linebackers coach. His special teams were indeed special, and Ian Johnson flourished at running back under Choate's leadership.
Choate was hired away by Washington State in 2012, and who could blame them? His energy and ability to coach several positions made him the type of coach every head coach loves to have. Which is why just recently the new head coach at UTEP, Sean Kugler, hired Choate to run his defense.
Jeff Choate is now the defensive coordinator for the Miners, and it will be intriguing to see what he does with his new role. Chances are he will be successful.
Oh, by the way, UTEP head coach Sean Kugler was the offensive line coach for Boise State in Chris Petersen's first season with the Broncos (2006).
Bryan Harsin was a graduate assistant for Boise State at just 24 years old in 2001. He was then promoted to tight ends coach the very next season. However, it was when coach Chris Petersen took over that Harsin got his big break.
In 2006, at the age of 29, Harsin became the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for the Broncos. Of course, that is the same season Boise State upset Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl behind three trick plays on offense.
In 2011, Texas hired Harsin away, and he continued his successful run with the Longhorns. However, recently Harsin was hired away by Arkansas State to become the Red Wolves new head football coach.
Harsin has subsequently hired some assistant coaches with Boise State ties.
Bronco fans certainly know the name Julius Brown. He was a three-year starter for the Broncos at defensive back and was also a graduate assistant under Petersen in 2007 and 2008. He is now the cornerbacks coach under Harsin at Arkansas State.
Lee Marks is another former Boise State player on the Red Wolves staff, as is Bush Hamdan. Hamdan is a former backup quarterback for the Broncos, and he is now the quarterbacks coach at Arkansas State.
Former Boise State and Detroit Lions defensive back Gerald Alexander is also joining Harsin as a graduate assistant.
The Red Wolves will certainly have a blue look to them in 2013.
Head coach Chris Petersen has an excellent eye for talent, but not just for players.
The number of assistant coaches who have gotten their start or their big break under Coach Pete is impressive, and the number is growing every year. At this pace, it won't be long before Petersen has to face a former coach on every week of the season.
Boise State has become known for many things under the leadership of Chris Petersen. However, one of his greatest legacies Petersen might be creating is the solid chain of impressive assistant coaches now decorating the college football landscape.
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