This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Kalen DeBoer’s name has been fixed.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The University of Washington Huskies will be taking on the Texas Longhorns in a little over a week in the Alamo Bowl.
The Huskies are led by first year head coach and South Dakota native, Kalen DeBoer, who seemingly turned the program around in one year posting an impressive 10-2 record.
But this isn’t the first time DeBoer has coached a team from Washington.
In his first year as head coach, Kalen DeBoer was awarded co-coach of the year. KELOLAND News sat down with the coach via Zoom to ask him about the accomplishment.
“It’s always a team award I think when it comes to coaches, getting these honors and recognition because we are 10 and 2, so a lot of that attention comes to myself I’m certainly honored that my piers across the PAC 12 that vote for this so it means a lot that way but to me it’s really an extension of our team accomplishments,” DeBoer said.
Accomplishments that were part of a goal for him and his team when he took the job. The University of Washington wants to get back to its winning ways.
“The expectations are high now, with that being said, it was a 4 and 8 year a year ago; a down year and COVID before that, so these guys been through a lot here on this team, so I guess the focus was, let’s get it going let’s get the momentum moving I thought we’d have a pretty good year when I saw the talent on the team and I think the buy in from the guys — it just kept moving upward and our culture is in a great place right now — you know that beats strategy, that beats a lot of things that go on in a football game,” DeBoer said.
As for his philosophy as a head coach? “We want to attack, we want to be aggressive, we always want to have the defense on their heels that’s kind of the philosophy we have,” DeBoer said, noting that it’s a kind of mindset he inherited from his playing days at USF for Bob Young.
“That confidence he instilled on our team during those years and winning a championship you know those kind of become the bench marks you hope to achieve and work for each and every day,” DeBoer said.
While DeBoer has enjoyed a lot of success as a coach, and continues to, he hasn’t forgotten about his past and what got him here.
“We use a lot of the same slogans that I used as a player, we talk about winners win, because that’s what winners do and all the things that go into a winning culture we talk about how our success starts with serving others whether it’s internally or out in the community, there’s a lot of those pieces I took and believed in and really bought in to as a player and developed in the last 20 to 25 years of coaching,” DeBoer said.
DeBoer’s first coaching job was here at Washington High School. He was in charge of the sophomore team that went undefeated and was the start of a winning dynasty at Washington.
He also found success early on at the college level, returning to his alma mater and winning three NAIA national titles.
Now years later climbing the ranks, DeBoer is focused on his next challenge, winning his upcoming bowl game, which would give his team a unique distinction in college football this year.
“There’s been only four other teams that have won 11 games and we have that opportunity to do something special and leave a legacy for the teams that follow,” DeBoer said.
Though he’s now in Washington state, he hasn’t lost touch with home.
Don Jorgenson: “I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you about Milbank do you still stay in touch with people in Milbank?”
Kalen: My family is still there my parents, brother, sister and their families so certainly there’s a lot of connection to Milbank and South Dakota in general that’s always going to be home it’s a place I’m passionate about I feel like the roots of where I come from made me who I am and it’s all because of the people I was fortunate enough to play for whether it was coaches or have as teammates and just friends in general so South Dakota is a special place for me and of course Milbank is as well, you still got the 605 I do I do I got the 605 it’s traveled with me for many years now.
The University of Washington takes on Texas December 29th in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio Texas. Kickoff is at 8 o’clock.