It looks as though Mike Leach will have to find another Linebacker’s coach. Jeff Choate, formerly with Boise State and the final hire of Leach’s original staff at Washington State, is being reported to have accepted (or be accepting) the defensive coordinator job with new UTEP head coach Sean Kugler. Of course, Kugler will be replacing old Cougar legend Mike Price in El Paso.
According to the El Paso Times, Kugler wants to keep the WSU ties in tact:
His staff is already taking shape as Washington State linebackers coach Jeff Choate will be his defensive coordinator.
Choate was the special teams coach at BSU and before that he spent a year at Eastern Illinois and two at Utah State in the same role. Even farther back I and many locals had a personal tie with him, as he coached the Post Falls Trojans in High School from 1997-2001, against my Moscow Bears. In fact I take great pride in the fact that we beat them 34-33 my senior season in 2000. That’s neither here nor there really, but a fun factoid on my part.
The move is obviously a good career move for coach Choate, who was also looking into the Idaho head coaching job before it was filled, but WSU and Leach in particular will be sad to see him go. Washington State’s least experienced group on defense was the linebacking corps coming into the season. One could argue that they were the heart and soul of a slight resurgence in actually playing defense at WSU by the time the season was over. He’ll be a tough act to follow.
Go Cougs and good luck to coach Choate down at UTEP!