FROM PULLMAN — It appears as if Washington State may have to find a new linebackers coach. The website CoachingSearch.com, along with the El Paso Times, reported Saturday that Jeff Choate will join new UTEP coach Sean Kugler as that team's defensive coordinator.
As of this writing, a WSU has neither confirmed nor denied the report.
If you'll recall, we profiled each of Mike Leach's new assistant coaches during the first few months of the year. Choate was very direct about why he left Boise State for WSU — he felt that he'd been pigeon-holed into a special-teams role, and found it difficult to move up the ladder because of that.
“I had interviewed for head (coaching) jobs and that was one of the things that came up – you haven’t been an offensive coordinator, you haven’t been a defensive coordinator,” Choate said at the time, “which quite honestly I think is ridiculous, because as a special-teams coordinator you address the entire team. It’s probably the best training ground for being a head coach.”
So he took the linebackers coaching job at WSU, obviously with the hope that it would lead to bigger things in a way his job at Boise State wasn't going to. Choate also reportedly talked with Idaho about its head coaching job in November.
Choate was given quite a bit of responsibility coaching WSU's linebackers, and also helped coach special teams, too. He talked about having players over to his house for dinner every now and then, and was instrumental in bringing together a linebacker corps that showed pretty well this season considering how many question-marks surrounded that group after the dismissal of C.J. Mizell and Sekope Kaufusi.
(And in an odd bit of WSU connectivity, the UTEP job was open because former WSU coach Mike Price retired at the end of the season.)
We'll update if more information becomes available.