Every program aims to have a self-sustaining ecosystem where former players become coaches, assistants become coordinators, coordinators become head coaches, and the three groups all produce ready-made candidates to step in as head coach when change inevitably happens. Think Ohio State, who likely makes the three-and-a-half hour round-trip on I-71 to pick up Luke Fickell if Ryan Day left tomorrow. Think Oklahoma, who brought former Bob Stoops assistant Brent Venables to replace former Bob Stoops assistant Lincoln Riley. Think Alabama, who can choose among former assistants Dabo Swinney, Lane Kiffin, Billy Napier, Steve Sarkisian to one day replace Nick Saban. Think Boise State.
The Broncos are led by Andy Avalos, a former Bronco linebacker, position coach, and coordinator.
Avalos replaced Bryan Harsin, a former Bronco quarterback, position coach, and coordinator.
Harsin replaced Chris Petersen, whom he coached under.
Petersen replaced Dan Hawkins, whom he coached under.
And Hawkins replaced Dirk Koetter, whom he coached under.
The cycle started with Koetter. Though he hailed from Poctallo, Idaho, played at Idaho State and coached high school football in the state, Koetter had no prior ties to the program when he took over for Houston Nutt, who bounced for Arkansas after one season in 1997.
"He had interviewed when Houston [Nutt] got the job," Harsin told SB Nation in 2017. "So when Dirk got that job, I remember he was introduced to the team, and one of the first things out of his mouth was, ‘You should have hired me in the first place.’
"I liked it. I liked the edge, and immediately I was drawn to him. I like Dirk."
To be clear, Boise State has always been a winning program. Eleven men have run the program full-time since it became a 4-year institution in 1968, only Nutt (5-6) left with a losing record.
But Koetter's tenure was the start of Boise State becoming Boise State. The program joined Division I-A in 1996, and Koetter's 26-10 mark from 1998-00 saw the first two of 12 bowl wins and the first two of 14 I-A/FBS conference championships.
Koetter left in 2001 for the Arizona State job -- another Boise tradition: the last five BSU head coaches (not counting Avalos) left for Power 5 gigs -- continuing a climb that ultimately landed him the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coaching job.
And now the cycle has come full circle.
Bronco Nation News reported Wednesday Koetter and former Boise State defensive coordinator Ron Collins are re-joining the program as senior analysts. Koetter offensive coordinator for eight colleges and NFL teams, will work with the offense and Collins the defense. Collins coached Boise State's linebackers while Avalos was a Boise State linebacker.
Both coaches previously announced their retirements from coaching.
Taking the Boise State job allows Koetter to be around his younger son Davis, who is expected to start at wide receiver for the Broncos this fall.
Collins' Boise State defenses routinely ranked among the top 20 nationally in multiple categories. Collins helped the Broncos go 45-7 over his final four years on staff before joining Hawkins at Colorado in 2005.
A prostate cancer survivor, Collins spent 10 seasons at Ohio and three as coordinator before announcing his retirement in November.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.