The Bobcat football team will have a few new faces on the coaching staff next year. Kane Ioane, Montana State’s only four-time All-American and a Bobcat Hall of Famer who has worked as an assistant coach in some capacity since 2004, left the team. Ioane joins the University of Washington football program as the defensive quality control specialist.
Ioane initially started as a student assistant for the Bobcats in 2004 and landed the full-time job as a defensive assistant the next season. He worked primarily as the linebackers coach since 2008, also serving as defensive coordinator in 2015 and as assistant head coach in 2016.
“It was a matter of me feeling like I’ve got to get out of my comfort zone at some point in my career and spread my wings a little bit,” Ioane said. “This is the opportunity that presented itself. There have been other opportunities, but the timing is right and this one just feels right.”
He joins the Huskies, who were 12-2 last season and won the Pac-12 championship to earn a berth in the four-team College Football Playoff, where they lost to Alabama 24-7 in the Peach Bowl.
The connection between MSU and Washington continues to grow. Current MSU Head Coach Jeff Choate was previously at University of Washington as special teams and defensive line coach. Washington’s current Defensive Coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, who approached Ioane about the position, was his defensive coordinator at MSU during Ioane’s playing career.
The loss of Ioane presents a potentially difficult situation for the Bobcats as spring football begins. Moving forward, Choate will rely mostly with what he has in place. “We will handle this in house as much as possible. I think first and foremost we need to do what is best for our players, and a lot of the time continuity it is what is best for our players,” he said.
While, for the time being, it causes some issues in staffing, in the long run Choate is happy with what it means for the program. “I was very supportive of it, but had very mixed emotions. I’m happy for [Ioane],” he said. “I think it says something of the program that we have started here. If I’m doing my job correctly people won’t just be attracted to MSU, or the success that we have been having, but also because of the opportunity where they can work for a man that is going to advance their career.”