(Editor’s note: Montana State University media release)
BOZEMAN – Montana State’s 2019 football coaching staff began taking shape Wednesday, when Jeff Choate announced the hiring of two coaches with different degrees of experience in Bobcat Stadium.
Kane Ioane, a four-time Bobcat All-America who spent the last two seasons as a quality control analyst at the University of Washington, returns to his alma mater as defensive coordinator and safeties coach. Erik Frazier, who visited Bozeman last season as Western Illinois’ receivers coach, joins Montana State’s staff in the same capacity. Both hires are pending background checks.
“I’m excited to add two coaches with experience and proven success,” Choate said. “These situations provide an opportunity to move forward, and I believe Kane and Erik help our program do that.”
One of Bobcat football’s legendary figures, Ioane returns to the program he helped revive as a player and reshape as an assistant coach. The 2003 Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Ioane led the Cats to back-to-back Big Sky titles in his final two seasons as a player and was part of the MSU coaching staff in some capacity from 2004-16. He rose to the position of defensive coordinator in 2015, and coached under Mike Kramer, Rob Ash and Choate. At Washington, Ioane worked as a defensive analyst with two one-time Bobcat coaches, co-defensive coordinators Pete Kwiatkowski and Jimmy Lake.
“Kane was here for a long time with a high degree of success,” Choate said. “He has tremendous experience at this level, and clearly he’s been deeply involved in every aspect of defensive game planning at the best defensive program in the Pac 12 in the last five years. One thing I’ve learned in my time here is the value of having former Bobcat players on the staff. When DeNarius McGhee talks to recruits about his experience as a player here the passion and sincerity have impact. I’m extremely fortunate to bring him back to Montana State.”
Choate said Ioane’s experience at Washington was an unparalleled growth opportunity. “Part of what made his opportunity at Washington so attractive was his exposure to great teachers and new ideas, but what Washington does aligns perfectly with what we do. We’ve made progress at affecting the quarterback and creating turnovers, but there’s room for growth in getting teams off the field on third down. Kane brings answers to some of our issues while providing continuity.”
Frazier helped construct a balanced Leathernecks passing attack in 2018, when three receivers racked up at least 600 receiver yards and three had at least 40 catches. Senior receiver Isaiah LeSure (615 receiving yards) was named Second Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference, while junior receiver John Brunner (625 receiving yards) was named to the All-MVFC Newcomer Team.
Frazier comes to MSU from Western Illinois, where he spent one season at Western Illinois after working as a graduate assistant at Northwestern University. He previously work at Dayton (receivers coach, 2016) and Delaware Valley (coaching receivers in 2014, adding quarterbacks to his responsibilities in 2015). A native of Philadelphia, Frazier served internships with the Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs, and was a Division II All-America at Kutztown University in 2011. He earned his Bachelor’s in Sports Management from that school in 2011, and his Master’s in Policy Studies from Delaware Valley in 2016.
“Erik is a really sharp young coach,” Choate said. “Throughout the process we kept coming back to him as a really good fit for our program. He has good experience coaching receivers and a very detailed approach to receiver play. He’ll bring a lot of ideas to the table and will be a good asset in helping Matt move our offensive forward.”
These coaching staff additions accompany internal moves. Choate affirmed that Matt Miller remains as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with Kyle Risinger moving from safeties coach to cornerbacks, and he indicated the process of filling the defensive staff is underway. “We look to hire a veteran coach for our linebackers who will assist in raise this defense to a level of dominance.”