We learned late last night that Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin has been tabbed as the next head coach at Arkansas State.
Harsin steps into a job that has become a destination for coaches looking for destination jobs. Hugh Freeze left after one season for Ole Miss. Gus Malzahn replaced him, and left a year later for Auburn. Harsin now steps in for Malzahn and, while there's no telling exactly how long it will take for Harsin to reach his predecessor's success, all the pieces are in place for Arkansas State to continue its run atop the Sun Belt.
The 2009 FootballScoop Offensive Coordinator of the Year, Harsin helped morph Kellen Moore from an undersized, lightly-recruited quarterback into the winningest player in FBS history. At Texas, he helped David Ash leap from outside the top 100 in passing efficiency ratings in 2011 to inside the top 20 this fall. As a true freshman, Ash tossed just four touchdowns against eight interceptions; this year, those numbers flipped as he threw 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
While his speciality is quarterbacks, Harsin calls a balanced offense. His last two offenses at Boise State averaged 266 passing yards and 194 rushing yards (in 2009) and 319 passing yards and 200 rushing yards (in 2010). At Texas, he ramped up a running game that averaged 150 yards per game in the year before his arrival to 210 yards per game in 2011 and 176 yards per game in 2012.
Harsin is also renowned for his affinity for trick plays. There were the Hook and Ladder and Statue of Liberty to beat Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Then there was the pass out of the Wishbone against Iowa State this season. Harsin regularly called for his wide receivers to throw the ball at Texas. In 25 games as Texas' play caller, Longhorns wideouts threw 10 passes that resulted in four touchdowns and an interception.
Arkansas State has reportedly scheduled a 2 p.m. ET press conference to announce the hire. We will update with more details as they become available.