Boise State Football

Boise State football loses one of its key assistant coaches in veteran Caldwell

Boise State defensive line coach Steve Caldwell shouts out instructions during Boise State’s first practice of the fall at DeChevrieux Field in Boise on Aug. 4, 2016.
Boise State defensive line coach Steve Caldwell shouts out instructions during Boise State’s first practice of the fall at DeChevrieux Field in Boise on Aug. 4, 2016. kgreen@idahostatesman.com

One of Boise State’s most beloved, and important, football assistant coaches is moving on.

An athletic department source confirmed Friday that defensive line coach Steve Caldwell has resigned with designs on moving closer to his roots in the Southeast.

Arkansas is the likely landing spot, as the Razorbacks are reportedly set to hire Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis as their DC. Caldwell is an Arkansas State graduate and was the defensive ends coach at Arkansas from 2010 to 2012. He worked extensively in the past with Chavis at Tennessee from 1995 to 2008.

Caldwell, a Missouri native, was on coach Bryan Harsin’s initial staff at Boise State, which was put together before the 2014 season. The Broncos’ defensive line was a key reason they slowed down potent rushing attacks from Oregon, San Diego State, Air Force and New Mexico this season. He coached a pair of All-Mountain West selections (David Moa and Sam McCaskill) in 2016. The Broncos finished No. 5 in the FBS in rushing defense in 2015 and likely will finish in the top 20 this season.

“Coach Caldwell came in and taught us how to be great football players and even better young men,” former defensive tackle Elliot Hoyte tweeted.

From that 2014 staff, just two assistant coaches remain — defensive coordinator Andy Avalos and tight ends/special teams coach Kent Riddle. In addition to the defensive line vacancy, Boise State also will hire for a yet-to-be-determined 10th assistant coach position, which the NCAA will allow beginning in January.

Caldwell won a national championship in 1998 at Tennessee. He said in 2014 that he still wants to return to that level.

“That national championship game in ’98 will be something you’ll never forget,” he said. “I always thought I’d be back there a lot sooner than I’ve gotten back. Hopefully we get back again before it’s all over. That’s my goal.”

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