In the news:
Boise State secures Harsin as coach
Boise State hires former player and offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin to be the Broncos’ next coach.
The Associated Press
BOISE, Idaho — Boise State hired former player and offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin to be the Broncos’ next coach.
Athletic director Mark Coyle confirmed Wednesday he had lured Harsin back to Boise and away from Arkansas State, where Harsin served as coach for just one season.
Harsin, 37, grew up in Boise and became a backup quarterback after walking on to the program in the late 1990s. He then worked as an assistant coach starting in 2001 and was elevated to offensive coordinator in 2006 by Chris Petersen, the man he will now replace.
“We’re coming home,” Harsin said in a statement issued by the university. “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.”
It didn’t take long for Coyle to find a successor to Petersen, who left last week to take over at Washington.
Coyle focused his search on coaches with ties to the program, including former Broncos coach Dirk Koetter, now the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons.
In his only season at Arkansas State, Harsin led the Red Wolves to a 7-5 record and a share of the Sun Belt Conference title. The team will play Ball State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl next month.
His five-year contract at Arkansas State carries a $1.75 million buyout clause if he stepped away in the first year of the deal. His departure also makes him the third straight Red Wolves coach to leave after one year.
It was during Harsin’s tenure as offensive coordinator at Boise State that the team emerged as a BCS contender.
• Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald won the Lombardi Award, beating out Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley, Missouri defensive end Michael Sam and UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr for the award given annually to the nation’s top college lineman.
• Connecticut hired Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco as its coach.
• Eastern Michigan hired Drake’s Chris Creighton as its coach. Drake promoted top assistant Rick Fox to head coach.
• Southeastern Conference coaches voted Auburn’s Gus Malzahn coach of the year and picked his star tailback Tre Mason as the top offensive player. Mosley and Sam are co-defensive players of the year.
• The Atlantic Coast Conference’s coaches selected Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston as the league’s player of the year and Duke’s David Cutcliffe as the coach of the year.
• Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles and Louisville defensive end Marcus Smith were selected American Athletic Conference offensive and defensive players of the year. UCF’s George O’Leary was chosen coach of the year.
• Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell will miss the Liberty Bowl after having surgery to fix a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.
• The Division II championship game is leaving Alabama after 28 years. The NCAA announced the game will move to Kansas City, Kan., starting next season.