Arkansas State Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir announced at a Dec. 12 press conference that Bryan Harsin, a 13-year coaching veteran at the NCAA FBS level who has coached in 10 bowl games as either an assistant or offensive coordinator, has been named the Red Wolves' 29th all-time head football coach.
Harsin, a finalist for the 2009 Broyles Award recognizing the top assistant coach in the country, has been associated with two nationally-prominent programs during his rise to A-State's head coach. Working closely with Chris Petersen at Boise State and Mack Brown at Texas, two of the most well-respected coaches in the country, Harsin spent the last seven seasons as an offensive coordinator with the Broncos and Longhorns.
Harsin served the last two seasons as Texas' co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach after spending the previous 10 on the Boise State staff, including the last five as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach as well. During his tenure at both schools, he guided offenses that consistently ranked among the nation's best in almost every statistical category.
In his first season at Texas, he had the task of putting a new offense in place with a young group that featured 10 different freshmen and sophomores starting for the Longhorns. Despite its youth, the offense was able to put up over 500 yards of total offense four times and rank 21st nationally in rushing offense with 202.6 yards per game. The team ran for over 400 yards in back-to-back games against Kansas (441) and Texas Tech (439), marking just the fifth and sixth 400-yard rushing performances by Texas since 1980. Harsin helped guide three different starting quarterbacks to 2,360 yards and 12 touchdowns in addition to the offense creating four other passing touchdowns.
His influence on the offense continued to pay dividends for 23rd-ranked Texas this season as the Longhorns climbed 31 places to No. 24 in the nation in scoring with 36.1 points per game. Under Harsin's direction, Texas also generated 441 yards total offense per game this year and ranks ninth in the nation in passing efficiency. The Longhorns posted over 400 yards total offense in nine games and scored at least 30 in eight, including a season-high 66 against Ole Miss. Texas' Harsin-coached quarterbacks this season have combined to throw 23 touchdowns and both have a pass efficiency rating that ranks among the top 20 players in the nation.
He was at the helm of the Boise State offense during a five-year period where the Broncos posted a 61-5 record that included two undefeated seasons, which were capped by Fiesta Bowl wins over TCU in 2009 (14-0) and Oklahoma in 2006 (13-0). They reached at least 12 wins in four of his five seasons as coordinator and had three Top 10 finishes, including ranking No. 5/6 in 2006, No. 4/4 in 2009, and No. 10/10 entering the 2010 bowl season. In 2008, they finished just outside the Top 10 at No. 11/13.
In his five seasons as offensive coordinator at Boise State, Harsin's offenses were in the top five nationally in scoring four times, capped by ranking first in 2009 (42.2 ppg) and second in 2010 (45.1 ppg). They also ranked second in 2006 (39.7 ppg), fourth in 2007 (42.4 ppg) and 12th in 2008 (37.6 ppg). In all, Boise State averaged 41.4 ppg during his time as coordinator.
The Broncos ranked in the Top 10 in total offense in three of Harsin's seasons as coordinator and were no lower than 18th in all five of his years, culminating in 2010 with an average of 521.3 ypg, which set the BSU school record and ranked second nationally. In those five seasons, the Broncos offense averaged 459.9 ypg.
As quarterbacks coach, Harsin guided Kellen Moore into 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.
ESPN.com, SI.com and CBSSports.com named Moore first-team All-America, the Associated Press named him third-team All-America, while he also finished seventh in the 2009 Heisman voting and earned Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors.
In his third season as offensive coordinator, Harsin's 2008 unit was taken over by Moore, who was a redshirt freshman. Moore would compile one of the most outstanding seasons by any Broncos quarterback, finishing the year with a NCAA freshman record 69.4 completion percentage (281-of-405), 25 touchdown passes and just 10 interceptions. He was also named WAC Freshman of the Year.
In Harsin's first season as offensive coordinator, the 2006 Broncos went undefeated and running back Ian Johnson led the country in rushing touchdowns and scoring. He also set a school single-season record with 1,713 yards. He was named to four separate All-America teams and finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
From 2002-05 Harsin served as tight ends coach at BSU. That unit played a vital role in a Broncos offense that led the nation in scoring twice and finished in the top 10 in scoring in each of those four years. In 2005, four Broncos tight ends combined to catch 27 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns. In 2004, Harsin helped the tight ends contribute to the top-scoring offense in school history (48.9 ppg).
In his four seasons as tight ends coach and one as a graduate assistant, Boise State had a record of 53-11, making the Broncos record in his 10 seasons there 114-16.
Prior to coaching the tight ends, Harsin was a graduate assistant with the Broncos in 2001. He was a member of the Bronco football team from 1995-1999, earning three varsity letters. He served as Boise State's backup quarterback in 1999 when the team went 10-3 and won the Crucial.com Humanitarian Bowl.
After graduating from Boise State in 2000 with a degree in business management, Harsin entered the coaching profession at Eastern Oregon, coaching running backs and receivers during the 2000 season.
Harsin and his wife, Kes, have two daughters, Devyn Lynn and Dayn Mykena, and a son, Davis. Harsin is a graduate of Capital High School in Boise.