Kalen DeBoer is a South Dakota man through and through. It shows in his work at Washington

by Ethan Kim
Coaching Ascent

Kalen DeBoer epitomizes his South Dakota roots in his career at the University of Sioux Falls, where he played a pivotal role in their football triumphs. Following the Cougars’ remarkable performance in 2009, securing their third national championship in four years, DeBoer received an invitation to meet with the athletic director, Willie Sanchez. Sanchez believed that DeBoer had outgrown the small, Baptist-affiliated university in South Dakota’s largest city.

In a candid conversation, Sanchez inquired about DeBoer’s coaching ambitions, to which he hesitantly admitted his aspirations to coach at a higher level. Sanchez, recognizing his potential, encouraged him to explore opportunities at a more elevated stage in the coaching arena. In a lighthearted manner, Sanchez even went so far as to jest about firing him if he didn’t pursue another job, all in an effort to motivate him to reach for greater heights.

DeBoer, a true South Dakota native who had spent the first 35 years of his life in the state, is now 49 years old and currently serves as the head coach at Washington. In just his second season, he has led the undefeated Huskies to the College Football Playoff, earning him the prestigious Coach of the Year accolade from The Big Big News. Their next challenge awaits as they face Texas in the Sugar Bowl on January 1.

While it remains uncertain whether DeBoer truly needed Sanchez’s push, he remains grateful for the belief his former boss had in him during those pivotal moments.

DeBoer’s remarkable journey through the coaching ranks commenced shortly after his meeting with Sanchez, as he was appointed as the offensive coordinator at Southern Illinois. This marked the beginning of a series of coaching roles spanning six different institutions over 12 years.

Throughout his coaching career at Sioux Falls (2005-09), Fresno State (2020-21), and Washington (2022-23), DeBoer has amassed an impressive record of 103 wins and only 11 losses.

His high school coach, Mike Busch, attests to DeBoer’s extraordinary success, emphasizing that it is not by chance but rather a result of his dedication, hard work, and an unwavering belief in his players.

Although DeBoer left South Dakota in 2010, his deep connection to the state and the lessons he imbibed from his mentor, the late NAIA Hall of Fame coach Bob Young, remain ever-present. Young recognized DeBoer’s potential early on and played a pivotal role in shaping his coaching career, eventually advocating for his hiring as the head coach at Sioux Falls.

DeBoer’s ties to Sioux Falls are profound, evident in his coaching staff that includes Washington’s defensive coordinator Chuck Morrell and offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, both of whom have shared his coaching journey from Sioux Falls to their current roles.

DeBoer’s upbringing in rural South Dakota, his mother’s unwavering support, and the challenges he faced have all contributed to shaping the determined and resilient coach he is today.

His former coach, Mike Busch, remembers DeBoer as a player who would go to great lengths to ensure his team’s success, demonstrating versatility and dependability on the field.

DeBoer’s journey from a underfunded program at Sioux Falls to his current position as the head coach of a prominent college football team serves as a testament to his dedication and commitment to his craft.

Washington hired him in 2021, tasking him with revitalizing their football program. DeBoer’s ability to retain key talent and bring in star quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has yielded positive results, propelling the Huskies to the national spotlight.

As the College Football Playoff unfolds, South Dakota takes pride in one of its own, with DeBoer’s success potentially placing him on the Mount Rushmore of football in the state if Washington secures the national title. Regardless of his future endeavors, DeBoer’s journey from small-town South Dakota to college football’s pinnacle serves as an inspiring tale of dedication and perseverance.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Coaching Ascent

What is the main theme of the text?

The main theme of the text is the coaching journey of Kalen DeBoer, from his roots in South Dakota to his current position as the head coach at Washington, including his coaching career, achievements, and the influence of his mentor.

Who is Kalen DeBoer, and what role does he play in the text?

Kalen DeBoer is the central figure in the text. He is a football coach whose career is traced from his time as a player and coach at the University of Sioux Falls to his current role as the head coach at Washington. His coaching journey and accomplishments are the focal points of the text.

What significant achievements are mentioned in the text regarding Kalen DeBoer’s coaching career?

The text highlights several significant achievements in Kalen DeBoer’s coaching career. These include his successful tenure at the University of Sioux Falls, where he won national championships, his coaching roles at various institutions, and his recent success in leading Washington to the College Football Playoff.

How does Kalen DeBoer’s background and upbringing in South Dakota influence his coaching career?

The text briefly discusses how DeBoer’s background and upbringing in South Dakota have played a role in shaping his coaching career. It mentions that he grew up in rural South Dakota, and his experiences and values from that upbringing have contributed to his determined and resilient coaching style.

What connections and relationships does Kalen DeBoer have with individuals mentioned in the text?

Kalen DeBoer has strong connections and relationships with several individuals mentioned in the text. These include his mentor, Bob Young, who played a pivotal role in his coaching career, as well as his coaching staff members who have shared his journey from Sioux Falls to their current roles at Washington.

What is the significance of the College Football Playoff and Washington’s participation in it for Kalen DeBoer?

The text highlights the significance of the College Football Playoff for Kalen DeBoer, as it marks a major achievement in his coaching career. It mentions that he has led Washington to the playoff in only his second season as head coach, earning him the Coach of the Year honors.

What role does Michael Penix Jr. play in Kalen DeBoer’s coaching journey?

Michael Penix Jr. is mentioned as the starting quarterback for Washington and a key addition to the team under Kalen DeBoer’s coaching. The text implies that there is a mutual respect and successful partnership between them.

How does the text emphasize Kalen DeBoer’s dedication and perseverance in his coaching career?

The text underscores Kalen DeBoer’s dedication and perseverance by tracing his coaching journey from an underfunded program at Sioux Falls to his current position as a prominent college football head coach. It highlights his willingness to pay his dues and progress up the coaching ladder through hard work and determination.

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Reader47 December 26, 2023 - 2:21 pm

kalen deboer’s coachin journey is so inspirin. from small town south dakota to big college football playoff, wow!

SportsFan101 December 26, 2023 - 7:24 pm

this is amazin! deboer’s dedcation n hardwork shine thru. go huskies!


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