BOISE, Idaho Boise State University head football coach Chris Petersen has announced several position changes to the Bronco coaching staff for the 2009 season.
Jeff Choate, who has served as Boise State’s running back coach the past three years, will move to the defensive side of the ball and coach linebackers; director of football operations Keith Bhonapha will take Choate’s place as running back coach; Viliami Tuivai will move from his linebacker coaching position and replace Bhonoaph as the director of football operations; and Rob Christoff will become the team’s defensive graduate assistant. Choate will also continue his duties as special teams coach.
“We have a great staff and the right people on the bus,” Petersen stated regarding the staff changes. “As this program continues to move forward we want make sure we are playing to the different strengths of the entire staff, and I think these changes will allow us to grow and prosper.”
In the past three seasons guiding the running backs and special teams, Choate has coached Bronco players to seven All-Western Athletic Conference awards. Three of those honors were earned by running back Ian Johnson (two first-team and one second-team) who ended his career second on the all-time Bronco rushing list with 4,183 yards and a WAC record 58 touchdowns.
The other All-WAC awards came from the Boise State special teams. In 2006, place kicker Anthony Montgomery was a first-team selection while Kyle Stringer earned second team honors as a punter. The 2007 season saw current place kicker Kyle Brotzman named to the All-WAC second team, and last year Kyle Wilson earned second-team honors as a specialist when returned punts for 470 yards and three touchdowns.
Choate joined Petersen and the Bronco staff in 2006 after serving as an assistant coach at Eastern Illinois University in 2005, and Utah State University from 2002-2004. He is a 1993 graduate of Montana-Western.
Bhonapha, who has served as Petersen’s director of operations the past three years, is no stranger to the coaching side of football. Prior to joining the Bronco staff in 2006 he served as a defensive graduate assistant at his alma mater, the University of Hawai’i. He also worked with the Warrior’s special teams during those three seasons. Bhonapha was a four-year letterman at Hawai’i as a defensive back and special teams player. He received bachelor and master’s degrees from Hawai’i in 2003 and 2005, respectively.
Tuivai has been a member of the Bronco staff since the past six seasons. He served as the defensive graduate assistant for former head coach Dan Hawkins from 2003-04, before coaching the Bronco linebackers the past three years. Among the outstanding linebacker’s Tuivai has coached are Korey Hall, a first team All-WAC selection in 2006, and Colt Brooks who All-WAC second team honors the same year.
He received his bachelor’s degree in 2002 from UC Davis, where he was a two-year starting linebacker and a volunteer assistant coach for one year.
Christoff is no stranger to the Boise State football program having played linebacker for the Broncos in the early 1990’s. A veteran collegiate coach, Christoff has been a member of the football staffs at Linfield College (Ore.), the University of Colorado, Cal State Northridge, St. Mary’s (Calif.), Montana State (where he also served as defensive coordinator) and Idaho State University. He returned to Boise this past football season where he served as an intern for the Bronco defensive staff.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Linfield College in 1995, where he also played his final two years of collegiate football.