Jeff Choate reflects on hectic week of coaching changes

BOZEMAN – This week there were a few shakeups on the Montana State football staff, but that’s typical of any college program.

“The players are the program, coaches come and go,” said Bobcats head coach Jeff Choate.

It all started Tuesday with the resignation of defensive coordinator Ty Gregorak, who turned the Bobcats into one of the most dangerous defenses in the conference.

“I really don’t know specifically what’s the next step for him, but another guy that really helped us get this program in a position where it is today and help drive it forward,” said Choate on Gregorak’s time with MSU.

Choate added that he knows Gregorak will land on his feet just fine when he goes looking for another team.

But his absence opened the door, and on Wednesday the Cats brought in a familiar name to MSU fans to fill the void, Kane Ioane. Who spent two seasons at the University of Washington as a quality control analyst.

“He ends up getting an opportunity to go to Washington and not have to recruit, not have to run a room, all he did was ball 24 hours a day 365 days a year for two years at a place where they run the exact system that I want to run and they are the best in the country at that particular system,” said Choate when asked about Ioane’s appeal to the program.

Ioane already was the defensive coordinator at Montana State back in 2015. But this time, they know he can handle the reigns.

“All indications were that when I called over there to people that I know and trust, they said he’s ready. He’s ready to go do this, he’s got a good plan and so I’m excited to bring him back,” Choate said.

There was even more movement on Tuesday as Mark Orphey, who was in charge of the defensive backs, left the Bobcats for a job in the FBS. But the Cats also filled some roles, shifting some coaches into new roles who were already on staff, keeping Matt Miller at the offensive coordinator position, and hiring Eric Frazier of Western Illinois to become the Cats’ next wide receivers coach.

Now there’s one position left to fill for Choate — the linebacker coach. But he implied today that’s it’s already filled.

“We’ll be ready to comment on (the hire) early next week sometime once the process has kind of taken its hold,” he said.

But he may have given a hint for the next coach up and for the many to follow in the coming years.

“I’m going to bring Bobcats back. I think that’s a really underrated thing in this recruiting,” said Choate about future hires. “When Denarius McGhee gets up and talks about his experience at Montana State, that’s different. When Kane (Ioane) talks about his experience at Montana State, that’s different. And so I think that means something and that’s important and you’ll see that pattern continue as we hire some more guys here.”

Nick Petraccione

Nick Petraccione

Nick is the Sports Director at KBZK and KXLF in Butte and Bozeman, Montana. He attended Syracuse University and moved to Montana in 2017.
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