BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The hometown boy who walked on at Boise State and years later engineered the offense that sparked the team's emergence as a BCS contender is home again, this time as the Broncos' head coach.
Bryan Harsin's homecoming officially began Friday when the university introduced him as the team's 11th head coach and successor to Chris Petersen, who left for Washington last week after eight seasons.
The 37-year-old Harsin admitted it didn't take long after learning about his mentor's departure to Seattle for him to begin dreaming of his own return to Boise.
"A millisecond," joked Harsin, who spent this season getting his first taste of head coaching experience at Arkansas State.
"This program personally has changed my life. It's made me who I am today. It's made my family and our relationships where they are today. So as far as the dream of this . all I wanted to do is get back here and do for this program what it's done for me."
Harsin was among a handful of candidates interviewed to take over for Petersen, who won 92 games, two BCS bowls and helped turn a program from a small Western conference into a national brand. Harsin had a role in Boise State's rise, serving as offensive coordinator from 2006 to 2010, a period when the Boise State offense was among the nation's leaders and led by Kellen Moore, the winningest quarterback in college football history.
Like Harsin, the resumes of other top candidates featured strong ties to the school, including Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, a former Broncos assistant, and Dirk Koetter, a former Broncos head coach and now offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons. Two current Boise State assistants also were interviewed, athletic director Mark Coyle said.
For Mark Coyle, it wasn't Harsin's deep Boise State roots that convinced him he was the right person for the job.
Early in his search process, Coyle jotted down a short list of qualities he believed were essential to the team's next coach. Atop the list: A leader motivated by a sense of urgency, Coyle said.