Cats New Head Coach Choate Keeps Ioane and Two Other Bobcat Assi - News, Sports and Weather

Cats New Head Coach Choate Keeps Ioane and Two Other Bobcat Assistants

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Jeff Choate didn’t venture far from his new home to fill four positions on his first Bobcat coaching staff Monday afternoon. Current Bobcat assistant coaches Kane Ioane, Bo Beck and Michael Pitre, and Brian Armstrong, the head coach at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, became the first coaches to fill spots on Choate’s initial MSU staff.

“It’s important to create some stability for our players and in the recruiting process,” Choate said of Monday’s moves. “I’m excited that each of these four have decided join our coaching staff.”

One of the most accomplished players and longest-tenured assistant coaches in MSU history, Ioane’s assignment is assistant head coach and linebackers coach. He has coached on MSU’s defensive staff since finishing his playing career as a four-time All-America. He began as a student assistant in 2004 and has achieved progressively more responsibility since.

“Kane will coach linebackers and continue in a leadership role in our program’s Assistant Head Coach and linebackers coach,” Choate said. “He’s made great contributions to Bobcat football and he’s a great Bobcat. The short time I’ve known him have left no doubt that his knowledge of the history and tradition of this program and connection with our student-athletes will be a great asset. I’m thrilled he’s made the decision to stay on.”

A familiar presence to Choate from the Texas recruiting scene, Beck retains his role as MSU’s recruiting coordinator while moving across the line of scrimmage to coach tight ends. As the team’s defensive line coach the past nine years he helped develop seven First Team All-Big Sky players, five All-Americas, and a pair of Buck Buchanan Award winners. Before arriving at MSU in 2007, Beck coached in various capacities at Drake and Iowa State.

“I’ve gotten to know Bo from recruiting in Texas, and he’s a respected recruiter and position coach,” Choate said. “I think with him flipping over to offense to coach tight ends he will bring an extra dimension to our offensive staff by adding a defensive perspective. His willingness to move to the offensive side of the ball will help develop our run game.”

Pitre retains his role as running backs coach after two seasons in that capacity, after helping produce some of the top backs in the school’s recent history in the past two seasons. The former UCLA running back coached senior Shawn Johnson in 2014 and the dynamic tandem of Chad Newell and Gunnar Brekke in the past two seasons.

“Michael is a guy I did my homework on,” Choate said. “He’s a bright young coach and his experience and recruiting contacts are vital. He’s well-respected by his peers, and by the players in our program.”

Armstrong, who comes to MSU as offensive line coach, achieved remarkable success as Rocky Mountain’s head football coach. He was named Frontier Conference Coach of the Year in 2010 and ’13 after he was elevated from his role as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach (2008-09). Armstrong earned All-America honors as a senior offensive lineman at Western Montana College in 1995, and during his freshman and sophomore seasons played on teams that Choate helped coach. He previously coached high school football in Florida and Montana, and was a graduate assistant at Utah State in 2003-04 during Choate’s time there. Armstrong is a 1992 Helena High graduate, and earned his degree from Western Montana in 1998.

“Brian is someone I’ve known for over 20 years,” Choate said, “and he’s highly-respected personally and professionally. He will bring instant credibility as an offensive line coach and to our recruiting in the state of Montana, and his head coaching experience will be valuable. Brian is an excellent football coach and I’m thankful that he’s joining our staff.”

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