Longtime Bobcat Ioane accepts Washington job


BOZEMAN, Mont. - The Montana State football team has lost its longest-tenured assistant coach, who also happened to be one of the greatest Bobcat players in history.

Kane Ioane, who has coached linebackers for the Cats since 2005, has accepted a job as a defensive quality control specialist at the University of Washington.

Ioane will serve under Huskies head coach Chris Petersen and defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, who was MSU's defensive coordinator when Ioane played.

He joins a Washington Huskies program that went 12-2 last season, won the Pac-12 Conference, and made the College Football Playoff.

"It's going to be awesome," Ioane said in a Montana State news release. "We've stayed in contact over the course of the years. It will be great working with Pete, with Coach Peterson, and a staff and program that have had so much success at the top level of college football."

"I started having conversations a while ago, actually, with Pete Kwiatkowski," said head coach Jeff Choate. "He had brought this position up. I actually think it's a position there at Washington that they were creating.

"I was very supportive of it, but I also kind of had mixed emotions. It really kind of hit me last week as we were going through our Wednesday and Friday practices, and then into Saturday that Kane was going to be gone, but I'm happy for him."

Ioane started coaching at MSU as a student assistant in 2004 before being hired as a full-time assistant the very next year.

From 2005-08, he served as a linebackers assistant before landing the full linebackers coaching job, a position he held from 2009-16.

The Billings native also served as defensive coordinator in 2015, and was the team's associate head coach last season.

In his 13 years as an assistant coach with the Bobcats, Ioane helped the program win four Big Sky championships, in 2005 and three straight from 2010-12.

He coached nine all-conference players and three All-Americans at linebacker, including Jody Owens, the 2012 Big Sky Defensive MVP.

Before his coaching career, Ioane starred as a safety at MSU from 2000-03, and won two more conference titles as a player (2002-03).

He started 47 straight games for the Cats, and is the only player in program history to be named an All-American four times.

Ioane also won the Big Sky Defensive MVP award as a senior in 2003.

Choate plans on getting through spring practices by making an adjustment with the current coaching staff.

"I think we're going to be able to handle this internally for now," Choate said. "We have a guy who's coached some inside linebackers over his career in (defensive coordinator and Buck ends coach) Ty Gregorak, and I think it's a pretty seamless transition for him to go into that room.

"In the short term, I'm going to take over the Bucks, the outside guys, and then everything else kind of stays in place. Quite honestly, I don't have the time right now to deal with the hiring process."

Montana State's spring practices conclude on April 22, with the Sonny Holland Classic spring game.

Choate says he plans to hire Ioane's replacement by mid-May.

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