Timeline: Harsin comes full circle, back to Boise

ccripe@idahostatesman.comDecember 12, 2013 

Nov. 1, 1976: Bryan Harsin is born at St. Luke’s in Boise. He’s the middle of three children, with two sisters.

1993-94: Harsin follows Jake Plummer as the starting quarterback at Capital High and leads the Eagles to a second-place finish at state as a junior and to the playoffs as a senior.

1995: Harsin walks on as a quarterback at Boise State and redshirts.

1996: Harsin is one of just two quarterbacks in spring ball because starter Tony Hilde isn’t there. Coach Pokey Allen sees Harsin in the hallway one day and tells him he will receive a scholarship. But Allen leaves the team to undergo cancer treatments before he can deliver on that promise. Harsin keeps reminding interim coach Tom Mason. “I was on scholarship for being annoying more than anything. Just to shut me up,” Harsin says.

1996-99: Harsin plays for Allen, Mason, Houston Nutt (1997) and Dirk Koetter (1998-99). He never starts a game for the Broncos, serving as a backup behind Hilde and Bart Hendricks, who was the 1999 Big West offensive MVP. “(Hendricks) was one of our best quarterbacks ever. He took his opportunity and ran with it,” Harsin says.

2000: Harsin, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business management at Boise State, coaches running backs and wide receivers at Eastern Oregon.

2001: Harsin joins the Boise State coaching staff for the first time as an offensive graduate assistant.

2002: Harsin applies for the vacant job as tight ends coach. Dan Hawkins hires Stefan de Vries instead, but the school fires de Vries in July over a resume discrepancy. Harsin replaces him.

2002-05: Harsin coaches tight ends while the Broncos win four straight conference championships. When wide receivers coach Robert Prince leaves after the 2003 season, Harsin begins to work closely with then-offensive coordinator Chris Petersen.

December 2005: Hawkins takes the Colorado job and Petersen replaces him. In a mild surprise, Petersen tabs the 29-year-old Harsin to replace him as offensive coordinator. “I kept coming back to, ‘That’s the guy,’ ” Petersen says.

2006: Harsin’s first year as offensive coordinator is a wild success — a 13-0 season and Fiesta Bowl championship. The Broncos rank second in the nation in scoring at 39.7 points per game and win the Fiesta Bowl with a hook-and-lateral, halfback pass and Statue of Liberty handoff. He turns down opportunities to interview for coordinator jobs at Alabama and Miami.

2007: The Broncos go 10-3 and rank fourth in the nation with 42.4 points per game. Harsin mentors senior quarterback Taylor Tharp, who sets a school record for completion percentage in his only season as the starter. “He’s developed quarterback after quarterback into being a great player,” Tharp says. “Look at what he did with a nonathletic, three-year backup like myself. He turned me into a pretty decent player.”

2008: Harsin begins to develop quarterback Kellen Moore, who leads the Broncos to a 12-1 record in his first year as the starter.

2009: The Broncos tie for the national lead with 42.2 points per game, win all 14 of their games and take another Fiesta Bowl title.

2010: Moore reaches New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist and finishes fourth. The Broncos score 45.1 points per game — third most in school history — and finish second in the nation. They go 12-1.

Jan. 7, 2011: Harsin accepts a job as co-offensive coordinator and primary play-caller at Texas. The job was “at the top of the list” of opportunities he previously identified as attractive to him. “We feel very blessed that it has come about,” he says, “because this is something we’ve talked about and dreamed about, and now it’s a reality.”

2011: Texas improves from 88th in the nation in scoring offense (23.8 points per game) in 2010 to 55th in Harsin’s first season (28.1 ppg). The Longhorns also improve by three wins, to 8-5.

2012: The Longhorns improve again, to 9-4. And they do it with an offense that scores 35.7 points per game (24th in the nation) — and 30 points or more nine times.

Dec. 12, 2012: Arkansas State hires Harsin after losing its previous two coaches after just one season. He surrounds himself with seven coaches with ties to Boise State. “It was the right time,” Harsin says. “I had a purpose, and this was the opportunity and the chance that I’ve been looking for.”

2013: The Red Wolves post a 7-5 record and earn a share of the Sun Belt Conference championship. The team improves late in the season with four straight wins and a three-point loss in the final five games.

Dec. 6, 2013: Petersen takes the Washington job.

Dec. 11, 2013: Boise State hires Harsin as head coach. “We’re coming home,” he says.

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