BOISE — Boise State football head coach Bryan Harsin announced Thursday the hiring of Zac Alley as the Broncos’ inside linebackers coach. Harsin also announced the promotions of Jeff Schmedding to defensive coordinator, and Spencer Danielson to co-defensive coordinator.
Alley, who was recently announced as the nickels coach at Charlotte, spent the previous four years (2015-18) as a graduate assistant at Clemson, his alma mater. Alley worked primarily with defensive tackles and linebackers during his tenure as a graduate assistant, and spent time as a defensive coaching intern with the Carolina Panthers.
He also spent four years as a student assistant with the Tigers (2011-14), earning a bachelor’s degree in business management in 2014. He went on to earn a master’s degree in human resource development in 2017.
“We talk regularly about football being a developmental game,” Harsin said. “This is so true in coaching, as continual development and taking advantage of staff development is critical to ongoing success. Zac has been developed at Clemson for quite some time and been part of on-field coaching there for four ACC championships, four college football playoff appearances, three national championship games and two national titles. His football IQ and coaching pedigree are extremely impressive.”
“When you think about the most successful college football programs in the country, Boise State is right there,” Alley said. “I’ve been impressed from afar by the winning consistency, and then stepping foot on campus to meet with coach Harsin and staff, I was even more impressed with the incredible culture. The on-field success is a direct result of this and mirrors very closely to what I’ve been a part of at Clemson and Charlotte. It made this an easy decision to become a Bronco and I can’t thank coach Harsin enough for this opportunity.”
Schmedding, entering his first season as the Broncos’ outside linebackers coach, spent the previous four seasons (2015-18) as defensive coordinator at Eastern Washington. This past season the Eagles were one of only four teams in the country with 30-or-more turnovers forced (34) and 30-or-more sacks (36). EWU was the only team to accomplish this feat in 2016 – the Eagles forced 31 turnovers and recorded 35 sacks – and no other Football Championship Subdivision school did it in two of the last three seasons.
Additionally, Schmedding's defense ranked first in the Big Sky Conference in scoring defense, pass defense efficiency, interceptions, turnover margin and opponent fourth down conversions in 2018.
Danielson is entering his third season as a member of the Boise State coaching staff, his second as a full-time assistant and his first as defensive line coach. This past season both Curtis Weaver and Jabril Frazier garnered first-team All-Mountain West accolades, each ranking in the top 10 in the league in sacks. The duo contributed to the Broncos ranking 10th nationally in the statistical category (3.00 per game).
Under Danielson’s guidance, Weaver was also named first-team all-conference in 2017 –- the first freshman defensive player in league history to earn the honor. Weaver and Frazier combined for 17 sacks in 2017, half the team's total. Weaver's 11 led the team, were tied for the sixth-most across college football and were the most by a freshman nationally.
“At the same time we were looking at coach Alley and what he could bring to the table, our current defensive staff was doing an impressive job during spring ball while down a coach,” Harsin said. “Jeff and Spencer thrived on the leadership challenge and really answered any questions we had about preparing the defense.
“We brought coach Schmedding to Boise State because he had been a defensive coordinator at one of the most successful FCS programs in the country the past decade, and his experience has shown. Coach Danielson is one of the top young coaches out there and no doubt about it, is ready for a bigger role on this coaching staff.”
Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney said, “Zac’s one of the brightest young coaches we’ve had come through here. He literally could run our whole defense. Could coach any position. Bryan (Harsin) had called me and I recommended him, and Zac went out and won the interview. It’s exciting to see him get that opportunity to go out there and be a part of a big time winning program like Boise State.”
Clemson Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables added, “Boise State just got better. Zac’s a winner. He’s mature beyond his years and wise beyond his years. This is a very unique opportunity for Zac and his career. He’ll make the Boise State coaching staff and players and their fans, he’ll make them proud. Zac will add to the value of their culture and their brand, which is as good as there is in college football. He’ll bring some of what’s he’s learned (at Clemson) with him, and continue to build upon what they’ve already established there.”
Charlotte Head Coach Will Healy stated, “Zac’s an excellent young coach with a tremendous work ethic. He did a great job of establishing relationships with our players. He’s extremely knowledgeable and has been around a championship program at Clemson. He’ll bring that same philosophy to Boise State.”