Harsin, who gained instant national recognition as the offensive coordinator responsible for Boise State's thrilling win over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl in his first season in that position, takes over for Chris Petersen, who left for the University of Washington last Friday. Petersen compiled a 92-12 record as Boise State's head coach from 2006-2013, but suffered his worst year at Boise State this season, going 8-4.
Harsin has been head coach at Arkansas State for the past season, guiding the Red Wolves to a share of the Sun Belt Conference title.
Harsin's ascent to this position has been rapid. A graduate of Boise's Capital High School, Harsin played backup quarterback at Boise State from 1995-1999 and earned his degree in Business Management. After graduating from Boise State, Harsin became the quarterback and running backs coach at Eastern Illinois in 2000.
He returned to his Alma mater in 2001 as a graduate assistant under former head coach Dan Hawkins. Hawkins promoted him the next year to tight ends coach, where he served from 2001-2005.
When Petersen took the reins of the Bronco football program in 2006, he immediately entrusted Harsin with control of the powerful Boise State offense, naming Bryan as his offensive coordinator. In his first season, Harsin validated that trust in helping to guide the Broncos to a perfect 13-0 season as the nation's only undefeated team, a season that culminated in the historic Fiesta Bowl victory. Harsin's Boise State offense rolled up 377 yards in the win over the tough blue-blood defense of Oklahoma.
Harsin remained in control of the Bronco offense through the 2010 season. During this time, the Broncos led the nation in 2009 with an average of 42.21 points per game, and finished in the Top 15 in scoring offense all five years.
Boise State averaged 39.69 points a game in Harsins' first year, second in the country. They were fourth in 2007, averaging 42.38 points a game, then 12th in 2008 (37.62), and second only to Oregon in 2010 with 45.08 points a game.
By comparison, the Broncos slipped to 54th in scoring by 2012 (30.23 points a game). Boise State rebounded to average 38.8 points in 2013, although the Broncos averaged just 28.8 points a game vs. teams with a winning record.
While he was coaching the Boise State tight ends, Harsin helped develop Derek Schouman into one of the best tight ends in school history. Schouman played through injuries to nonetheless record 78 catches as a four-year starter for 1,009 yards and 11 touchdowns. Schouman's clutch catch on fourth down in overtime helped set up the famous Statue of Liberty play that enabled Boise State to defeat the Sooners in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Schouman played for the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League and started fourteen games in 2008 and 2009.
Running back Ian Johnson rushed for 1,713 yards (second in the NCAA) and led the nation in rushing touchdowns (25) and scoring (152 points, 12.67 points per game) in 2006. Harsin helped guide Bronco quarterback Jared Zabransky to an outstanding senior season in 2006, when he completed 191-of-288 passes (66.32%) for 2,587 yards and 23 touchdowns against just 8 interceptions. Zabransky finished the year as the nation's sixth-best quarterback in passing efficiency (162.6).
In 2007, Harsin helped Taylor Tharp succeed in his only year as a starter, completing 289-of-423 passes (68.32%) for 3,340 yards and 30 touchdowns with 11 interceptions, good for seventh in the country in passing efficiency (152.9).
Quarterback Kellen Moore took over in 2008, and under Harsin's tutelage, earned Freshman of the Year honors in the Western Athletic Conference, completing an NCAA freshman record 69.4% (281-405) of his passes, with 25 touchdown passes and just 10 interceptions. Moore went on to become a Heisman Trophy finalist and set another NCAA mark in 2009 when his interception ratio of .70% (3 interceptions in 431 attempts) was the lowest in recorded history, and yet another NCAA record in 2011 as the winningest quarterback in college football history with a sparkling 50-3 record as a starter. nto becoming one of the nation's most productive quarterbacks. In 2010, Moore was named first-team All-America by the Football Writers Association of America and became Boise State's first Heisman Trophy finalist. He was also a finalist for the Maxwell Award, Davey O'Brien Award and Manning Award and was named the nation's top quarterback by The Touchdown Club of Columbus. Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2013/12/11/2921512/reports-bryah-harsin-will-be-boise.html#storylink=cpy
Moore led the nation in passing efficiency in 2010, topping Heisman winner Cam Newton with a rating of 182.63, and completed 273-of-383 passes (71.28%) for 3,845 yards and 35 touchdowns vs. only 6 interceptions. He earned All-America honors, was named the nation's top quarterback by The Touchdown Club of Columbus, and was a finalist for the Davey O'Brien Award, the Manning Award, and the Maxwell Award.
Harsin also helped develop running back Doug Martin into not only one of the nation's best collegiate running backs (1,260 yards and 6.27 yards per carry in 2010), but now one of the NFL's best with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
During Harsin's five years as offensive coordinator, Boise State's offenses included Ryan Clady, a Boise State All-American and now All-Pro tackle with the Denver Broncos, Nate Potter, a second-round draft choice of the Arizona Cardinals, and Austin Pettis, a third-round selection of St. Louis and now a star receiver with the Rams.
Harsin's offenses at Boise State produced 19 all-conference players in five seasons, and the WAC Offensive Player of the Year twice (Moore in 2009 and co-winner in 2010).
Harsin completed his stint as Boise State's offensive coordinator in 2010 with a 61-5 record, including two undefeated seasons, and two Fiesta Bowl championships, defeating Oklahoma in 2007 and TCU in 2010. Harsin was a key factor in helping Boise State compile the second-most consecutive regular season home victories in college football history (65 from 2001-2010), the fifth-best 10-year regular season home record (62-1 from 2001-2010), the 14th-best 50-game home record in NCAA history (49-1 through 2008), and the ninth-best 75-game home record (73-2 from 1999-2010).
When Harsin left Boise State, the Broncos had tied Yale (1894-1896), Oklahoma (2002-2004) and USC (2003-2005) for third place all-time with three consecutive 12-win seasons from 2008-2010. The Broncos continued that streak in 2011 for sole possession of third place.
With Harsin guiding the Bronco offense, Boise State set a modern record for the most wins in a three-year period with 38, topping the existing mark set by the great Nebraska teams of 1993-1995 (36-1). It was the most wins for a college football team in a three-year period in 116 years (Pennsylvania went 39-4 from 1892-1894).
Harsin left Boise State to become the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Texas, where he served in 2011 and 2012. At Austin, Harsin rescued a Longhorn offense that had been ranked 88th in the year before he was hired (23.75 points a game), and rapidly improved it to 23rd (35.69 ppg) by 2012.