BOZEMAN — Friday afternoon, Montana State University President Dr. Waded Cruzado, Director of Athletics Peter Fields and Montana State University welcomed Jeff Choate as the 32nd head football coach at MSU.
An Idaho native who graduated from UM Western in 1993 and has spent most of his 24 seasons in coaching within a 10-hour drive of Bozeman, Choate realized his professional goal. “This is what I’ve worked my entire career for,” Choate said, “to lead a college football program.”
Fields said Choate earned the respect of everyone involved in the selection process. “Jeff Choate is a well-respected person who has enjoyed coaching success throughout the Northwest and beyond at the high school and college level,” said MSU Director of Athletics Peter Fields. “He impressed everyone who came in contact with him during this process with his energy and integrity, as well as his ability as a football coach. He knows our state, and his background suits him for this job. We are very excited to welcome Jeff Choate to Montana State University and into the Bobcat family.”
Choate played football at Montana-Western in Dillon, graduating from that school in 1993 (BS, Secondary Education). His coaching career began with the Bulldogs in 1991-93 before he began a high school career coaching career in Idaho. He became head football and track coach at Challis High School (1994-96), was an assistant football, wrestling and baseball coach at Twin Falls High School (1996-97), and was Athletic Director and Head Football Coach at Post Falls High School (1997-2002).
“When I got into coaching I didn’t just set out to be a head coach,” said Choate. “I’ve always wanted to be a Big Sky Conference coach. It’s the league I grew up around, and I have strong ties to Montana. One of my most enjoyable years in coaching was at Eastern Illinois in the FCS level because it’s a great balance between a great brand of football, talented players, and the commitment of the kids to getting an education, which is the reason we’re all in this. The direction of the program under Coach Ash, the leadership of President Cruzado and the vision of Peter Fields all make this a tremendous opportunity.”
The Division I chapter of Choate’s coaching career began in 2002 at Utah State, where he coached the defensive line (2002) and specials teams and safeties (2003-04). He coordinated special teams and coached safeties at Eastern Illinois in 2005-06 before returning to Idaho. Choate worked as special teams coordinator from 2006-11, also coaching running backs (2006-08) and linebackers (2009-11). He was defensive run game coordinator and linebackers coach at Washington State in 2012, and after a brief time at UTEP in the spring of 2013 moved to Florida, where he coordinated special teams and coached outside linebackers. The next season he took over special teams and defensive line duties at Washington, where he coached in 2014-15.
Choate will be introduced to the media and public at 11:30 am Monday, Dec. 7, in Ballroom A of the Strand Union Building.
— MSU Sports Information