Arkansas State may have plucked its newest head coach from Texas but for a school that wants to become the "Boise of the South", Bryan Harsin is still very much cut from the Broncos' blue and orange cloth.
"He talked about his experience at Boise State, the building process," said Arkansas State system president Dr. Charles Welch. "He played for three head coaches as a player. It was like he was describing Arkansas State. This is somebody who gets it and this is somebody who knows how to get it done."
"Having spent the amount of time that I did at Boise, I understand how to get there," Harsin said. "My beliefs, my philosophy comes from Boise State. What I learned there is going to be the model we're going to use here to continue to build and continue to grow Arkansas State."
Arkansas State is getting a coach who has prepared his entire life to be a head coach, and is itching to hit the ground running. "This is an opportunity I prepared myself for for a long time. I didn't know it would feel this good," said Harsin. "My only regret is that I can't be out there with those players as they prepare for the bowl game."
Harsin's high school coach, Steve Vogel, added this about the newest Red Wolves head coach, "He said (in high school) his goal was to be a head college football coach by the time he was 40 — and he beat that."
Arkansas State will pay Harsin a sum of $3.5 million over five years, with a buyout of $1.75 million if he departs after one year. After losing Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn in consecutive years, Arkansas State wants to avoid finding another head coach in December 2013.
"You can look at my track record at Boise State," Harsin explained. "There were opportunities. I am all about the process. I am all about the opportunity to build and continue success rather than (leave after one year)."
Harsin can't coach Arkansas State in the upcoming GoDaddy.com Bowl, so he will turn his focus toward recruiting players and a new staff.
"I'm looking for high character, high output, low ego guys," Harsin added. "As far as the timetable, we'll get into those very quickly. We'll start to put together what we feel is our best people for these players."
Harsin praised Chris Petersen and Mack Brown multiple times, saying, "I've got a lot of notes sitting at my home right now from those coaches."
On the field, Harsin will be tasked with sustaining momentum for a program that has won the last two Sun Belt Conference titles.
"I'm an offensive guy, and I know what a good defense can do," said Harsin. "A defense that's around the ball, that's opportunstic and can stop the run.
"On offense, we're going to have fun. I've already asked how many wide receivers can throw, every hand went up."
Harsin plans to transport the Boise Way to Jonesboro, the discipline, the all-in menality, the multiplicity on offense, the trick plays and everything short of the blue turf.
"Our long-term goal is to win bowl games and win championships and do it with class and academic integrity."