BOISE, Idaho — Boise State associate head coach, running backs coach and special teams coordinator, Keith Bhonapha, is leaving the Broncos to coach Oregon State's backfield, KTVB Sports Director Jay Tust confirmed Friday morning.
Bhonapha overlapped with Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith at both Boise State and the University of Washington. The Beavers' former running backs coach, AJ Steward, accepted a job with Baylor on Jan. 17 as the Bears' assistant head coach/RBs coach.
The departure comes as a bit of a surprise, considering Bhonapha's long-term ties to Boise State football and the Broncos' loaded running backs room for 2023. Bhonapha recruited Ashton Jeanty and signee Breezy Dubar, bringing two standout Texas ball carriers to The Blue in back-to-back classes.
Bhonapha, who served as the Broncos' running backs coach from 2009 to 2013, joined head coach Andy Avalos' staff Dec. 31, 2021. He coached the first five years of the Broncos’ 11-year run of 1,000-yard rushers during his first stint in Boise.
The father of four left Boise State for Washington with Chris Petersen in 2013. Bhonapha coached the Huskies' running backs in Seattle from 2014 to 2021.
During the 2022 season under Bhonapha, feature back George Holani rushed for 1,157 yards and added 151 receiving yards. Holani also found the end zone 13 times.
On six different occasions, Holani rumbled for more than 100 yards on the ground, on his way to second team all-Mountain West honors – his second all-conference selection as a Bronco.
During this year's Early National Signing Day, Bhonapha discussed his excitement to have Holani, Jeanty, Dubar, Elelyon Noa, Tyler Crowe and Kaden Dudley back in 'the stable' next season.
"I mean, it's unbelievable to say, 'oh, I'm gonna get in here, I'm gonna have a back that rushes for 1,100, 1,200 yards. I'm gonna have a freshman that rushes for 800. You're gonna get one of the top backs out of Texas to Boise State.' I mean, I'd be lying, you know," Bhonapha said. "I think it's a testament to what this program is all about. I really am excited about my room and just the way they've grown together and watching them grow over the course of the season."
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