The Montana State football team has hired University of Wyoming offensive coordinator Brent Vigen to be its next head coach, the program announced Monday.
Vigen, who will be the 33rd head coach in Montana State history, also served as the Cowboys’ associate head coach and quarterbacks coach. His departure from the Cowboys’ staff ends an 18-year run with UW coach Craig Bohl, whom Vigen coached under at North Dakota State before following Bohl to Wyoming seven years ago.
During that time, Vigen has become well known for his part in finding under-recruited quarterbacks and developing them into next-level talent. Vigen helped recruit junior college quarterback Josh Allen, who would go on to be drafted seventh overall by the Buffalo Bills in 2018 — higher than any Wyoming Cowboy had ever been selected. As offensive coordinator at NDSU, Vigen also recruited and coached Carson Wentz, who in 2016 was drafted second overall by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Under Vigen, Wyoming’s pro-style offense has finished in the top 40 nationally in rushing each of the past three seasons, though the passing game has tailed off dramatically since Allen’s departure. The Cowboys haven’t ranked better than 113th in completion percentage or passing yards since the 2017 season.
Injuries have played a part in that as starting quarterback Sean Chambers has missed some if not most of the last three seasons with knee and leg injuries. This past fall, Chambers went down on the Cowboys’ third play from scrimmage, and Wyoming finished its pandemic-shortened season with a 2-4 record — its first losing season since 2015.
Still, Vigen’s body of work has earned him his first chance to run his own program, leaving Bohl with the rare task of finding a new play caller.
Vigen, who had one year left on a new two-year contract he entered into last year, joined Wyoming’s staff when Bohl was hired as head coach ahead of the 2014 season. He and Bohl helped lead NDSU to three Football Championship Subdivision national championships.
Montana State also plays at the FCS level; Wyoming competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision, the highest subdivision of NCAA football.
He began his coaching career at NDSU in 1998, following a playing career there as a tight end.
“Brent brings a strong pedigree that has led to national championships in the FCS and tremendous success at Wyoming, and has a nationally-known reputation for identifying and developing NFL-caliber quarterbacks,” Montana State athletics director Leon Costello said Monday in a statement.
Vigen replaces Jeff Choate, who went 28-22 as Montana State’s head coach before leaving to coach linebackers at Texas.
Staff writer Brandon Foster contributed to this report.