Spencer Danielson: A look into Boise State football’s new leader

Photo courtesy of Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP

After inking a 5-year contract worth $6.5M, the leader of Boise State football will be none other than Spencer Danielson

Following the victory against the University of New Mexico on Nov. 11, ESPN gave Boise State a 0.1 % chance to make the Mountain West Championship.

One month later, the boys in blue were standing “At the Peak” after winning their first conference championship since 2019. Standing alongside them at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas was none other than interim head coach Spencer Danielson.

Danielson took over head coaching duties on Nov. 13 after the termination of former head coach Andy Avalos.

Boise State athletic director Jeramiah Dickey said in a press conference that the decision came when his, “head, heart and gut,” were aligned. Dickey continued, saying his team would conduct a nationwide search for the best possible candidate to take over the job.

“Someone was going to earn this,” Dickey said.

While the search was going on, Danielson was busy focusing on the players. He reportedly told every player to write “two weeks” on a sheet of paper and circle it. This was to make every player aware of the task at hand and get everyone on the same page to finish the season out strong.

“Coach D just told us ‘give me two more weeks’,” junior defensive end Ahmed Hassanein said after winning the Mountain West Championship. “We gave him two more weeks, now we give him three more weeks and we’re about to hit that bowl game and get that win too.”

The Broncos went 1-0 for each of those weeks, earning them a 7-5 record, and two more weeks of games.

On the Thursday before the Mountain West Championship game, Dickey said his “head, heart and gut” aligned once again, and he knew what decision to make for Boise State’s next head coach.

That decision led to Boise State announcing Spencer Danielson as Bronco football’s 12th head coach on Dec. 3.

“And when it happened, you know me, I started crying, because of the joy and emotion I have to be a part of this place,” Danielson said. “Not just to be a head coach, this isn’t just about football … It is about being the head coach of this place, for these young men, for this university, at this time. That’s why I’m emotional.”

Being the first interim head coach to ever win a conference championship is beyond impressive. Despite the accomplishment, Danielson made it clear from day one that none of his actions were for personal gain, they were all for the team’s best interest instead. 

“My number one focus in anything we did was not about getting this job,” Danielson said. “It was about finishing the season the right way for our players.”

Nevertheless, at 35 years old, Danielson has secured his first head coaching position in his career, calling it his  “dream job”.

Danielson’s coaching career began in 2013 as a graduate assistant at Azusa Pacific University, a Division II school in the Los Angeles area. He quickly transitioned to coaching linebackers, the position group he played for at Azusa Pacific as an undergraduate.

In 2017, Danielson made the move to Boise, Idaho, where he started again as a graduate assistant under former head coach Bryan Harsin.

“Why is it the dream job? Because of the people here,” Danielson said. “The second we moved out here, after we changed our plates, obviously, from the California plates, after we changed our plates, this place has opened their arms to me and my family, from day one.”

Since then, Danielson and his wife Raechel have had two daughters in Boise and his brother who is a firefighter for Boise Fire Department moved here as well.

Since then, he worked his way up to coaching defensive ends, then moved up to co-defensive coordinator, then to the sole defensive coordinator and now finally to head coach of Bronco football.

“The community, this place, the staff, the players that opened their arms to us seven years ago, it’s changed my life since and this has become home,” said Danielson.

Danielson says his ultimate goal is to build upon the culture at Boise State and to create a team that competes in everything they do. 

“There’s sometimes lost where, ‘Oh yeah compete and if you don’t win it’s okay.’ It’s not okay, because if you lose too many times as a husband that’s not going to go well, if you lose too many times as a the father it’s not going to go well, you lose too many times in your job you’re going to get fired and so the hunt to pursue to win in everything you do. That is life,” Danielson said. “But now how you do it is everything. You can do it with a smile on your face, love who you’re around, be passionate about who you’re around and that’s going to fuel your fire because it cannot be about you. I can promise you this, this is not about me… it is about us doing it together, a community, a staff, a group of players, Boise State University.”

He says that creating a team that wins and wins the right way is his vision for the program, as well as coaching and developing young men both on and off the field.

“I cannot wait for when people watch this team,” Danielson said. “For them to see a team that plays fast, plays smart and plays together, and that absolutely loves each other… It’s all about the people.”

Danielson has a lot on his plate in the next few weeks. 

Junior running back Ashston Jeanty announced that he’ll be back for another season, however, sophomore quarterback Taylen Green declared for the transfer portal, meaning he won’t play in the L.A. bowl against the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Boise State hasn’t defeated a power five opponent since 2019 when they beat Florida State University in the season opener with Hank Bachmeier at quarterback, so beating UCLA could be a huge statement for the program and for Danielson.

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