Pete Kwiatkowski is entering his fourth season as Boise State's defensive coordinator after being promoted from defensive line coach prior to the 2010 season. Kwiatkowski, a member of the Boise State Athletic Hall of Fame, is in his 16th overall season as a member of the Boise State coaching staff, and his eighth since returning to his alma mater prior to 2006.
In each of his previous seven seasons since returning to the Bronco staff, Boise State has led the league - both the Western Athletic and Mountain West Conferences - in total defense and scoring defense. But the Broncos haven't just been elite when compared with their conference foes. Since he has taken over as defensive coordinator, Boise State has boasted one of the most dominating defenses in the nation.
The Broncos are one of only seven teams in the country to finish in the top 25 in total defense in each of the last three seasons, ranking second-nationally in 2010, 16th in 2011 and 12th in 2012. During that same timeframe, Boise State is one of only six teams in the nation to average fewer than 300 yards allowed. Opponents are averaging just 297.05 yards per game against the Broncos since Kwiatkowski assumed defensive coordinator duties, a mark that ranks fourth-nationally, trailing only Alabama, LSU and Florida State.
Yardage has been hard to come by for opponents, but scoring on the Broncos has proven to be even more difficult. Opponents are averaging just 15.74 points per game the last three seasons, the third-best mark in the country. Only Alabama (10.87) and LSU (15.69) have allowed fewer points per game the last three seasons.
The Broncos ranked second-nationally in scoring defense in 2010, 12th in 2011 and eighth in 2012, one of only six schools in the country to finish each of the last three seasons ranked in the top 25 in the statistical category.
In 2010, his debut season as defensive coordinator, the Broncos finished second-nationally in both total defense and scoring defense, allowing just 254.69 yards per game and 12.77 points per game. Boise State also led the nation in sacks (3.69), ranked second in the country in both tackles-for-loss (8.38) and pass efficiency defense (95.19), fourth-nationally in pass defense (150.92) and seventh-nationally in rushing defense (103.77) - leading the WAC in each category.
In 2011, the Broncos' debut season in the MW, Boise State ranked 12th-nationally in scoring defense (18.69), 16th-nationally in total defense (320.85) and 17th-nationally in rushing defense (110.00) -leading the league in each category.
Last season, despite losing nine starters, Boise State ranked fifth-nationally in both pass defense (169.46) and pass efficiency defense (101.35), eighth-nationally in scoring defense (15.77), 11th-nationally in sacks (2.92) and 12th-nationally in total defense (315.62).
The Broncos forced 36 turnovers in 2012, ranking fourth in the country. Included were 18 fumble recoveries - the most in the nation - and 18 interceptions, a mark that ranked tied for 12th-nationally.
The Broncos placed four of their defensive players on the All-MW First Team in 2012, a mark that led the league: defensive tackle Mike Atkinson, defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, linebacker J.C. Percy and cornerback Jamar Taylor. Jerrell Gavins was named second-team all-league at cornerback, and safety Jeremy Ioane, linebacker Tommy Smith and defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe each earned honorable mention accolades.
Taylor went on to become the second-highest drafted cornerback in school history, taken in the second round of the 2013 National Football League Draft - No. 54 overall - by the Miami Dolphins.
Following the 2011 season six members of the Broncos' defensive unit earned all-conference recognition, including each of Kwiatkowski's four starting defensive linemen. Defensive ends Tyrone Crawford and Shea McClellin and safety George Iloka were each named first-team all-league; defensive tackle Billy Winn was named second-team All-MW and defensive tackle Chase Baker and linebacker Byron Hout each garnered honorable mention accolades.
Following the season McClellin was selected No. 19 overall in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, the second-highest a Bronco has been selected all-time. He was joined in the draft by defensive teammates Crawford (third round; Dallas Cowboys), Iloka (fifth round; Cincinnati Bengals) and Winn (sixth round; Cleveland Browns). Additionally, Baker (Minnesota Vikings), Aaron Tevis (New Orleans Saints) and Jarrell Root (Miami Dolphins) each signed free agent contracts after the draft.
In his debut season as the Broncos' defensive coordinator, eight different student-athletes earned All-WAC recognition, five of which garnered first-team accolades: defensive ends Ryan Winterswyk and McClellin, linebacker Winston Venable and defensive backs Iloka and Jeron Johnson. Winn, Hout and cornerback Brandyn Thompson were each named to the second team.
Thompson was a seventh-round draft selection of the Washington Redskins following the season, while Johnson (Seattle Seahawks), Venable (Chicago Bears) and Winterswyk (Atlanta Falcons) signed free agent contracts.
With Kwiatkowski's oversight of the defensive line from 2006-09, Boise State saw significant success at the national level.
Boise State finished 2009 with one of the nation's top defenses, ranking in the top 20 and leading the WAC in a number of statistical categories. The Broncos ranked 13th-nationally in pass efficiency defense (103.42), 14th-nationally in both total defense (300.21) and scoring defense (17.14) and 19th-nationally in TFLs (19). Boise State also led the conference in pass defense (179.86).
Winterswyk and Winn were each named all-conference following the 2009 season, with the former earning first-team honors and the latter garnering second-team accolades.
Nationally, the Broncos finished 2008 ranked No. 2 in pass defense, No. 3 in scoring defense (12.6) and No. 20 in total defense (308.2), and also led the WAC in pass efficiency defense (94.4). Winterswyk and Mike T. Williams led the charge for Boise State, as Winterswyk was a first-team All-WAC selection and Williams was named second-team all-conference. In addition, defensive lineman Nick Schlekeway was a first-team All-WAC selection in 2007.
In 2006 the Broncos were nationally-ranked in total defense (12th), scoring defense (25th), sacks (26th) and rushing defense (35th). Nationally in 2006, Boise State was eighth in rushing defense, 14th in total defense, 20th in scoring defense and 28th in sacks.
Before returning to Boise State, Kwiatkowski spent six seasons as Montana State's defensive coordinator. Under Kwiatkowski, the Bobcats' defense allowed a league-best 332.2 yards per game in 2005 while also leading the Big Sky Conference in passing defense, allowing just 165.6 yards per game. The Bobcats were second in scoring defense, giving up only 22.8 points per game. MSU also led the Big Sky in total defense three other times - in 2001 (358.0), in 2002 (306.8) and in 2003 (298.4).
With Kwiatkowski serving as defensive coordinator, Montana State qualified for the I-AA playoffs in 2002 and 2003, the team's first postseason appearances since 1984. The Bobcats also beat in-state rival Montana in three of his last four seasons at the school.
Kwiatkowski began his coaching career as an assistant at Boise State after an All-America and Hall-of-Fame playing career with the Broncos. He coached for eight years (1988-96) under three different head coaches in his first stint. During that time he coached defensive backs, outside linebackers and the defensive line.
Following the 1996 season Kwiatkowski moved to Snow Junior College in Utah, where he was the co-defensive coordinator and line coach for one season. He then coached at Eastern Washington for two seasons, where he coached Dario Romero, a first-team All-Big Sky Conference selection who went on to play for the Miami Dolphins.
A standout on Boise State's defensive line from 1984-87, Kwiatkowski earned four first-team All-America awards in 1987 and honorable mention All-America recognition from the Associated Press in 1986. He was named the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year in 1987, received first-team All-Big Sky honors in 1986 and 1987 and was named all-conference honorable mention as a sophomore in 1985. Kwiatkowski was inducted into the Boise State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996.
Kwiatkowski graduated from Boise State in 1990. He and his wife Lara have three daughters, Shelby, Riley and Olivia.