Boise State Football: 5 Potential Candidates to Replace Chris Petersen
Update: The Idaho Statesman is reporting that Bryan Harsin has been hired as the new head football coach at Boise State University.
Boise State had its biggest loss under Petersen to the University of Washington early in the 2013 season, but it seems an even bigger loss comes to them at the end of the same season to that same team.
Now, as is customary in the Boise State system, a call for "next man up" has been sounded.
On that note, it seems apparent that there are some obvious choices to replace Petersen, but each name on the short list seems to have some issues revolving around possible employment.
Let's look at the list in an effort to determine who might or might not be available, and, more importantly, which candidate might be the best fit.
Dirk Koetter is a name familiar with Boise State fans. Koetter was the head coach of the Broncos from 1998-2000 until he was hired away by Arizona State.
Koetter was 26-10 as the Broncos head coach, but his time with the Sun Devils was not nearly as successful. He spent six seasons in sunny Arizona and led his teams to a 40-34 overall record before he was let go.
Since that time, Koetter has moved into the NFL as an offensive coordinator. He has spent time with the Jacksonville Jaguars and is currently running the Atlanta Falcons offense.
The Falcons current record of 3-9 might be a red flag, but it could also be the motivation to sway Koetter back to Boise.
Former Boise State offensive coordinator Brent Pease is looking for a job after being let go by Florida.
Pease might have been the choice last season if Petersen had left, but after his struggles in Florida, who knows?
Still, he has connections to the school and might be able to convince the administration that he is the guy for the job. He hasn't had head coaching experience, but he was the assistant head coach for the Broncos from 2007-2010.
This choice might not be the most popular, especially with the struggles Pease had at Florida, but he would be a decent fit in Boise.
Jeff Tedford would be a very intriguing choice.
The former Cal coach is just 52 years old and is currently not employed as a head coach. He was let go last year after a 3-9 season in 2012.
Tedford was very impressive at Cal and had a hand in rebuilding the program after a dismal 2001 season. He was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Oregon when Cal came calling.
Tedford was an offensive coordinator for Fresno State from 1993-1997. He was also the quarterbacks coach for the Bulldogs, and his offensive mindset would be a great fit at Boise State.
Pete Kwiatkowski is the current Boise State defensive coordinator. He is also a former Boise State player, and he has 16 years with the school as a coach.
Kwiatkowski, or "coach K" as he is often referred to, is well liked in Boise, and, with Petersen leaving to Washington, it could be that the current defensive coordinator for the Huskies, Justin Wilcox, is staying on in Seattle.
Wilcox is himself a former defensive coordinator at Boise State under Chris Petersen, and it would make sense for them to reunite in Washington.
If that is the case, it would be a good thing for the Broncos to hold on to coach K. He could also bring continuity to a program that likes to promote from within.
However, there is no evidence to support the fact that he wants the job. Of course, that was the case with Petersen before he took over for the departing Dan Hawkins.
Current Arkansas State head coach Bryan Harsin is no doubt at the top of many wish lists in Bronco Nation.
Harsin is a former Boise State quarterback and a former offensive coordinator for the Broncos.
He was part of a 61-5 record while at Boise State until he was hired away by Texas in 2011. He spent just two seasons with the Longhorns before becoming the Arkansas State head coach.
He has done a good job for the Red Wolves, taking them to a 7-5 overall record and qualifying for a bowl game in his first season.
There is a $1.75 million buyout for Harsin's contract, and that could be a big stumbling block for a university not rich in cash. However, coach Petersen had a $750,000 buyout, so that could help defray some of the cost.
Harsin is no doubt the front-runner in the minds of fans. Whether or not that translates to the administration remains to be seen.
Others to Consider
There are, of course, several other names to consider for this job.
Current Boise State assistant coaches could include linebackers coach Bob Gregory, offensive line coach Chris Stausser and current offensive coordinator Robert Prince. Gregory was named the interim head coach for bowl season. Of course, that could mean nothing.
Former coach Dan Hawkins will probably get a few rumors thrown his way, but that is a long shot. He did say on a local radio show however, that he is interested.
Justin Wilcox probably gets mentioned too, but it seems as if he is staying put and reuniting with coach Petersen in Washington. If he does decide to pursue the Boise State job, he will no doubt shoot to the top portion of the list.
Former assistant Sean Kugler might get a look. He is the current UTEP head coach, but his first season was a struggle. He led his team to an overall record of 2-11, but he is trying to rebuild a program.
Colorado School of Mines head coach Bob Stitt is an intriguing name that has popped up in various conversations around Boise.
John Henderson of The Denver Post has reported that he was interested in the Wyoming job. Does that mean he might be interested in Boise State?
It is at least worth a conversation.
Stitt has an overall record of 90-57 as a head coach and is considered by many as an innovator in college football. After all, he did create what is known as the "fly-sweep." It is a play that CBS Sports called "the hottest play in football."
The downside to Stitt is that he is not connected to the Boise State program, and he is a Division II head coach.
However, the positives with Stitt seem to far outweigh the concerns.
Who will it be?
Quite frankly, it could be any of those listed here or it could be any one of a dozen other candidates.
It may be a sad day for many Boise State fans, but it should also be an exciting one. Boise State has continually moved onward and upward, and, even with the big loss of Petersen, the program has a chance to prove to all that they are not going to relent.
As stated earlier, it is simply a call of, "next man up."