Welcome back, Koetter: Former Boise State, NFL head coach rejoins Broncos’ staff

A former college and NFL head coach is returning to Boise State to take over as offensive coordinator for the second time in the past two years.

Dirk Koetter is rejoining the Broncos’ staff as offensive coordinator, sources confirmed to the Idaho Statesman on Tuesday. The 65-year-old native of Pocatello was Boise State’s head coach from 1998 to 2000. He returned as an analyst in 2022 and spent the final 10 games of that season as interim offensive coordinator after Tim Plough was fired.

Koetter left Boise State to become the head coach at Arizona State in 2001. He spent six seasons there before breaking into the NFL with stints as offensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was the Buccaneers’ head coach from 2016 to 2018, and then returned to Atlanta as offensive coordinator in 2019 and 2020 before retiring from the NFL in 2021.

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Koetter is replacing Bush Hamdan, a former Boise State quarterback who led the offense last season but left earlier this month to become the offensive coordinator at Kentucky. Koetter is the Broncos’ 10th offensive coordinator since 2013.

With Taylen Green at quarterback and Koetter calling plays, Boise State rebounded from a 2-2 start in 2022 to finish the season with a 10-4 record and a win over North Texas in the Frisco Bowl. The Broncos averaged 226.8 rushing yards and 32.5 points per game in the final 10 games of that season.

Green is gone, having transferred to Arkansas last December. The Broncos are far from bereft of offensive pieces for Koetter to play with, though.

The favorite to replace Green is former USC quarterback Malachi Nelson, who was a five-star recruit from Los Alamitos High School in California. He’ll compete with redshirt sophomore Maddux Madsen, who will miss most of spring practice while recovering from a season-ending knee injury he suffered last November.

Running back Ashton Jeanty is back to lead a backfield brimming with potential after he led the Broncos with 1,347 rushing yards and 19 total touchdowns, and spent most of last season leading the country in yards after contact. He’s joined in the backfield by sophomore Jambres Dubar, who looked explosive in limited action last year, and freshmen Sire Gaines and Dylan Riley. Gaines enrolled early and has been on campus since January.

Boise State hit the transfer portal hard in an effort to upgrade its wide receivers. The Broncos added former Indiana receiver Cam Camper and former Kilgore College receiver Chris Marshall, a former five-star recruit who is the No. 1 junior college recruit in the country, according to 247Sports. The Broncos also return young receivers Prince Strachan and Austin Bolt, both of whom showed how explosive they can be late last season.