CALDWELL College of Idaho President Marv Henberg reversed the priorities of major college football when he began searching for a coach to revive the Coyotes long-dormant program.
His four criteria, with nearly equal weight: a coach who will recruit for academic ability, recruit for character, recruit players who fit in the campus community at-large and establish a winning program.
The man he chose: longtime UC Davis assistant coach Mike Moroski, introduced Wednesday.
I will have patience on the latter of those four criteria, Henberg said, but I will not have patience on the other three. I dont have to worry about that because of the character of the person we are introducing today.
Moroski, 55, spent the past 26 years on staff at Davis the same program that produced the past two Boise State coaches, Dan Hawkins (2001-05) and Chris Petersen (2006-present).
Davis football success was built on the same qualities that Henberg sought.
Moroski became a candidate when Petersen recommended him to College of Idaho Athletic Director Marty Holly. Holly contacted Moroski, who had not applied.
Moroski was one of three candidates who interviewed on campus. There were 76 formal applicants and 154 people who expressed interest in the job, Holly said.
Moroski, he said, killed it at his interview, which included meetings with the faculty.
This is an emotional day for all of us, Holly said, because were going to do this thing right and we have a home run with this guy.
College of Idaho will return to the gridiron in 2014 in the NAIA Frontier Conference. The program was shut down after the 1977 season, the eighth consecutive losing season for a once-successful team.
Holly hopes the return of football will benefit the entire college, which will gain 120 students to fill the roster but could gain more through the notoriety football success would bring. Other schools have seen an increase in fund raising, too, Holly said.
This changes the school if we can get it done, he said, and I dont see why we cant.
That success now hinges on Moroski.
The Novato, Calif., native played quarterback at Davis and spent eight seasons as an NFL backup, mostly with the Atlanta Falcons (1979-84). He started nine games, including two for the San Francisco 49ers in 1986, his final season.
Petersen was Davis starting quarterback in 1986 and worked out with Moroski. They were on the Davis coaching staff together from 1987 to 1991. Since then, they have traded offensive ideas. Moroski was among several Davis coaches who made a professional development trip to Boise State a few years ago.
Holly hoped to hire a coach with ties to Boise States program because of its success, but also to form a bond between the Treasure Valleys two college football programs. He leaned on Petersen, Hawkins and former Boise State coach Dirk Koetter for advice during the hiring process.
The right people are supporting us, Holly said. This is new to me. I dont know what Im doing. I have to listen to people who do.
Moroski said he considers Petersen the gold standard of college coaches.
So Im pleased to know the guy, for one, he said, and to maybe have part of his philosophy, since our roots are much the same at UC Davis the way we want to treat people, to treat players, to treat the game, to treat the college environment, which were pleased and thrilled to be a part of.
Moroski was the offensive coordinator at Davis from 1993 to 2010 and the assistant head coach in 2011-12, coaching every offensive position group during his tenure. He was the 2001 NCAA Division II National Assistant Coach of the Year.
He applied to replace retiring coach Bob Biggs this year but the school chose Cal assistant and former Boise State assistant Ron Gould instead. That opened the door for College of Idaho.
I feel like my whole career has been preparation for this day, Moroski said. Many times good things come to you if you just work hard and do things the right way, so I really feel like thats what happened here.
Moroski considers himself an educator and the College of Idaho environment a small school with strong academics an outstanding fit.
Id almost say that it was perfect, he said.
He expects to produce a well-prepared, creative, disciplined, exciting team with a quarterback-centric, pro-style offense and an emphasis on heady players.
He also shares Henbergs priorities.
I like seeing young guys come in as 17- or 18-year-old kids or very young men and leave as more mature, more driven, more focused young men when theyre 21 or 22, Moroski said. Theres nothing more satisfying.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat