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From Milbank Bulldog to Washington Husky, Kalen DeBoer stays true to his roots

SEATTLE, WA (Dakota News Now) – From Milbank, SD, to the place he now calls home, Husky Stadium. What a journey it has been for Kalen DeBoer. As a great player and coach at USF. And then the journey went to different places. Fresno, Indiana, back to Fresno and now he’s here at a Power 5 school. And boy are they glad they have him.

Jen Cohen-Washington AD says, “It’s so interesting to go through the whole search process every time it came back to Kalen DeBoer. I think we just had faith that he would come up with a winning formula for Washington. You know that, he’s a winner, right. But he also fits in well with us because he really cares about his players and he cares about the university and the community and he was hungry for this opportunity.”

And make no mistake. Kalen and his family are thrilled to call Seattle home after a long trip.

Nicole DeBoer says, “It’s pretty cool that we’re at the University of Washington. We never thought we would be in a place like this. And we’re pretty happy to be here.”

Kalen DeBoer says, “This is a program that has 2 national championship trophies in the trophy cabinet. And so it’s something you really want to be a part of, when you’ve done that in Sioux Falls with championships and in Fresno, this is a traditional program at the highest level. I don’t know why I would want to be anywhere but here in Washington.”

And what made this story even better is that Kalen brought Chuck Morrell and Ryan Grubb along since they’ve had so much success together elsewhere.

Ryan Grubb-Washington OC says, “You know, for a head coach, it usually starts with being honest. First, that you are who you say you are. I think if you want to follow a person, whether you’re an assistant coach or a player, you want someone you really believe in. Isn’t he really that guy or not? It’s always been Kalen’s thing, that he’s a real person.”

Chuck Morrell-Washington DC says, “At the end of the day, after you’ve worked in the industry for a while, I care more about the people you work with than anything else. So it’s just an incredible opportunity to come back and you know the character, where he is and who he is and you know what kind of program he’s going to be running and that’s something I personally subscribe to.”

The offense was among the best in the nation, with transfer Michael Penix Junior, a possible Heisman Trophy contender, leading the way. He had already played under Kalen in Indiana.

Michael Penix-Washington QB says: “Once I was able to connect with Coach DeBoer straight away I understood his coaching style and coming here I knew I would be able to put the ball in the To get some air and definitely be successful at it That made the decision very easy for me.”

With players like Michael and DeBoer’s leadership, the culture at U-DUB has changed tremendously. But Kalen is so humble that he’s quick to pass the praise on to everyone else, including Chuck and Ryan.

Kalen says, “I’m here for them as much as they are for me. We got through this together and their willingness to leave the ego at the door was so big for us and I get a lot of credit for victories and for how the program is going. But there is no way we would be where we are without the value and hard work they put in every day.”

6th year non-returning Alex Cook and the team’s lead tackler couldn’t be happier with his Huskies on the verge of a 10-win season.

Alex Cook-Washington Strong Safety says, “Man I couldn’t, they obviously exceeded our expectations for what we expected them to do and I give my flowers to Coach DeBoer for doing everything and more to get us on the right side and building this program from the bottom up.”

With much speculation about Kalen getting new job offers, he has made it clear that he is very happy in Seattle. And the family is happy to be wearing purple again, hopefully for a while.

Avery DeBoer says, “We’re hoping to stay here for a while. I’m pretty sure we will, but you never know where the world will take us. I told him to stay, but I don’t know what he’s going to do.”

So the Washington Huskies are on the verge of a very good bowl game in their very first year. They are 9-2 and play the Apple Cup against their arch-rival Washington State on Saturday. A win there almost secures a really good game in the postseason. It’s been quite a first year for Kalen Deboer here in Seattle, Washington. You love him here.

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