Bronco Beat

Get to know the Boise State football coaches: Steve Caldwell

Boise State defensive line coach Steve Caldwell keeps his linemen engaged in spring practice. Caldwell has more than three decades of experience.
Boise State defensive line coach Steve Caldwell keeps his linemen engaged in spring practice. Caldwell has more than three decades of experience.

Note: I’m reposting the profiles I wrote on each of the Boise State football coaches with some additional reporting that didn’t make the stories. The last one will appear on game day.


Assistant head coach/defensive line coach

Age: 58

Hometown: Thayer, Mo.

Playing career: Walk-on linebacker and special-teamer at Arkansas State from 1974 to 1977. He played on an 11-0 team in 1975.

Coaching career: Arkansas State graduate assistant (1978-80), Northwest Mississippi C.C. offensive line coach (1981-84), Arkansas State linebackers coach (1985-89), Tennessee graduate assistant (1990), Pacific linebackers coach (1991), Pacific linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator (1992-93), Nevada linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator (1994), Ole Miss defensive ends coach (spring 1995), Tennessee defensive ends coach (1995-2008), Arkansas defensive ends coach (2010-12), Arkansas State defensive line coach (2013)

Education: Bachelor’s degree in health, physical education and recreation from Arkansas State (1977), master’s degree in health, physical education and recreation from Arkansas State (1978)

Family: Wife, Leisa; daughter Lauren (33), son Lendl (25), son Landon (died at age 20); granddaughters Cayman (6), Reese (4)

Did you know? Caldwell has won two national championships — at Tennessee (1998) and Northwest Mississippi Community College (1982).

Quotable: “He is always yelling, screaming, laughing, kicking. He’s just full of energy. I can see it in his eyes that he loves the game and has a lot of passion for the game. It’s exciting to have a coach like that — there’s not going to be a day with no energy.” — Sophomore defensive end Kamalei Correa

Our profile (April 2)


— Caldwell: “I never dreamed I was going to go to college. My plan was to be an electrician. My uncle had an electrical business.”

— Caldwell on his Arkansas State career, where he was a walk-on: “I didn’t play a whole lot. My knack was special teams.”

— He was at Starbucks with his family when coach Bryan Harsin called him about a job at Arkansas State for 2013. “I could tell really by the excitement in his voice he got me excited. He was really well organized. He knew what he wanted to get accomplished and he had a plan to get it done. I went back and told (my wife) and she still couldn’t believe we were going back for a third time.”

— When Harsin was heading to Boise for his interview, Caldwell told him: “Coach, go get this thing and I want to go with you.”

— Caldwell on his history at Albertsons Stadium, as an assistant at Pacific and Nevada. “I’ve coached two games here. Got beat both times.”

— He won the 1998 national championship at Tennessee. “That national championship game in ’98 will be something you’ll never forget. 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.”

— Caldwell on his job: “I enjoy it so much. I enjoy being around the kids. I want it done the right way and I want my guys to do it well. I tell them they all represent me — they are my resume. I love practice. I love the meetings. Saturdays make my stomach hurt in the fall. (Spring) is more fun than the Saturdays are for me. I love to compete, though.”

— His daughter, Lauren Rudd: “He honestly would rather do this than anything else. Even when they had a great season, it’s still what he wants to get up and do every morning.”

— Caldwell and his wife grew up 2 miles apart. He lived in Missouri. She lived in Arkansas. “She’s just so much more relaxed when he’s around,” Rudd said. “It’s a really neat dynamic to see how much they complement each other.”

— Rudd: “His players have always loved him. He’s motivating but he’s disciplined, too. They have fun with him. He had some players who called him the Silver Fox when he started getting his gray hair.”

— Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer: “He’s a really outstanding football coach, a great staff guy. He sees the big picture. He doesn’t mind challenging a staff member but he’ll do it in the right way. He’s one of the best position coaches I’ve ever been around and he is a heck of a recruiter.”

— Fulmer: “He spent time with (players) to get to know them personally and then he always worked to their strengths. He was a guy who wasn’t hung up on one particular technique necessarily. He would find what the guy did best and coach him the best he could to help the football team.”

Tomorrow: Julius Brown

Previously: Kent Riddle, Andy Avalos