On December 1, 2011 Mark Coyle was introduced to the Boise State faithful as the new athletic director.
That was also the day that he started to compile a short list of candidates that he thought could replace Chris Petersen if the day every came that the ultra-successful head coach decided to move on, according to a recent piece from the Idaho Statesman.
Over the past two years, Coyle has added, and adjusted that list and kept it in a secret drawer at his house. Shortly after learning that Petersen was leaving for Washington, Coyle pulled out his adjusted list that once had 20 names on it, and had whittled it down to six candidates.
Four of those six names came from guys who currently resided outside of the program including Scott Frost (Oregon offensive coordinator), Justin Wilcox (Washington defensive coordinator), Dirk Koetter (Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator), and of course Bryan Harsin (Arkansas State head coach). Two of them were assistant coaches within the Boise program already (offensive line coach Chris Strausser and linebackers coach Bob Gregory), and all the coaches that interviewed had Boise State ties, with the exception of Frost.
Those six names then landed interviews before Coyle and the administration decided that Arkansas State head coach Bryan Harsin was the right man for the job.
One point that really perked Coyle's attention when talking to Harsin was when he talked about having a "4th and 1 mentality" and attacking everything inside the program with that kind of mindset. That got Coyle excited, but he stayed the course through the rest of the remaining interviews before offering Harsin the job.
See more on how things played out behind the scenes here.