After four seasons of coaching, Bobcats head football coach Jeff Choate announced last week that he will be departing MSU for a position at the University of Texas. Choate was hired in December of 2015 and led the Bobcats to the FCS playoffs in 2018 and 2019 and the semifinals in 2019. This news comes after MSU determined the best course of action for the 2021 spring football season would be to forego Big Sky Conference play to protect the athletes and staff.
While his heart is with MSU and the emotion of leaving was overbearing, Choate said this was the next step in his career. “When I remove the emotion from this decision it becomes pretty clear that for me to achieve some of the things that I still have set on my goals lists, I’ve got to take this next step,” Choate said at a press conference. Choate’s searching led him to an opportunity with the Texas Longhorns, where he will serve as the co-defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach. MSU athletic director Leon Costello made sure Choate didn’t leave without his deserved appreciation. “He has positively impacted so many people, inside the football program and throughout the MSU community, and I’m grateful for his contributions to Bobcat Athletics,” Costello said.
Choate was 28-22 at MSU and proved to be a Griz slayer, leaving the program undefeated (4-0) against Montana. According to Choate, leaving Bobcat nation was an extremely difficult decision when taking the players and his family into consideration. The move was especially hard considering his son, Jory Choate, is currently a sophomore inside linebacker for the Bobcats.
Speaking to Bobcat Nation, Choate had some things to say. “It’s been a hell of a ride. This place has embraced our family and it’s been awesome.” While seemingly holding back tears, he included, “I gave this place my best, I gave those boys my best.”
A national search for a new head coach has already begun. The search committee is being led by Costello, who is tasked with a tough decision. There are multiple rumored candidates including former Montana State assistant coach Jason McEndoo, who is currently an Oklahoma State assistant coach, as well as former coach of the then-St. Louis Rams Jeff Fisher and former Nebraska and Oregon State head coach Mike Riley.
From the bottom of our hearts here at MSU, we want to thank Coach Choate for everything you have done for our Bobcat team. Our players, students, staff and community will miss your dedication and the efforts you contributed to this team over the years. For the last time we say to you, Go Cats Go, and we wish you never-ending success in your future endeavors. You will surely be missed.
The Exponent will have updates as the hiring process continues.