Posted December 06, 2013

Washington hires Boise State’s Chris Petersen to be Huskies’ next head coach

Boise State Broncos, Chris Petersen, Washington Huskies
Chris Petersen

Chris Petersen will reportedly replace Steve Sarkisian to become Washington’s next head coach. (Matt Cilley/AP)

It didn’t take long for Washington to find a replacement for departed coach Steve Sarkisian. On Friday the Huskies tabbed Boise State’s Chris Petersen as the program’s new head coach.

The news was first reported by ESPN’s Joe Schad on Friday.

In a statement, Washington athletic director Scott Woodward formally announced the newest era of Husky football.

“On behalf of the University of Washington and the entire Husky Nation, I am proud to welcome Chris Petersen as our new head football coach,” Woodward said. “Coach Petersen’s success and record are extraordinary, but even more impressive is the man himself. His integrity, work ethic and character make him an outstanding fit and leader of our student-athletes at UW. We are thrilled and proud to call Coach Petersen a Husky.”

Petersen’s move to Washington comes only four days after Sarkisian left the Huskies to accept the head-coaching vacancy at USC. Petersen, who was also a candidate for the Trojans’ job, withdrew his name from consideration after interviewing for the position. Adam Jude of the Seattle Times reported on Thursday night that Petersen was set to interview with Washington. The coach’s name had also been mentioned in connection with a potential opening at UCLA before Jim Mora Jr. decided to sign a contract extension with the Bruins.

This hire has to be considered a major success for the Huskies. Petersen has been a coveted target in the Pac-12 for years now, and in addition to withdrawing from the USC search, he spurned overtures from Stanford in 2011. He spent the last 13 years with Boise State, where he served five seasons as offensive coordinator before taking over as head coach in ’06. Petersen won five conference titles and two BCS bowls and finishes his tenure with an overall record of 92-12.

Of course, a clear question begs to be asked: What did this Washington opportunity have that previous head-coaching vacancies — including some at schools that are more traditional college football powerhouses — didn’t? Part of it may be that it allows him to stay in the Pacific Northwest. Part of it may be that Husky Stadium just completed a sparkling new $280 million renovation. But a lot of it, as with most decisions in this vein, comes down to fit.

In an interview with Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com in July, Petersen offered some insight into his decision-making process.

It’s all about the fit. There’s so many beautiful things about certain places. But then you think about, what are your strengths and weaknesses? And what do you want more of or less of?

[...]

I know this: You’re just trading one set of problems for another wherever you are. We have our issues.

I don’t know if there’s so much the appeal for other places, but maybe you feel like you need a change like you’ve feel like you’ve run your course at that place. Like everything has a shelf life. Like you just need a change for the next thing.

Washington went 0-12 before Sarkisian took over the program prior to the 2009 campaign. He brought stability to the Huskies and has led them to a fourth straight bowl berth in ’13. However, just days after Sarkisian’s exit, Washington may be better off. Sarkisian never won more than eight games in five seasons at the helm; Petersen has a reputation for doing more with less.

Boise State has tailed off over the last couple of years. It hasn’t won an outright conference title since finishing 14-0 in 2009. The Broncos have lost a combined six games over the past two seasons, including four times this fall, the most of Petersen’s tenure.

Yet with a stronger recruiting foothold and power-conference resources, Petersen seems like the guy to carry this Washington program to the next level. He has beaten the sport’s blue-bloods as a heavy underdog. Now, the playing field is strikingly more even.

According to a report from FootballScoop.com, Boise State’s top target to replace Petersen is current Arkansas State head coach Bryan Harsin. Harsin worked on the Broncos’ staff from 2001-10.

52 comments
HerschelAnderton
HerschelAnderton

petersen deserves a shot to coach at a legit title-contending program.  i think if he proves himself at washington, he will finally get the chance.

Syd1976
Syd1976

It was a sad day in Boise.  Coach Pete, I wish you and your family all the best.  Thank you for all you did for the team and community.  John Madden - Boise




Listening
Listening

I guess the Huskies will be a good fit for him.  Nothing like moving out of Idaho (they do have some beautiful places to visit though). 

robert.bruce.parsons
robert.bruce.parsons

 I knew it wouldn't last forever, but the Cinderella story of Petersen and Boise State is one of the best stories ever to come out of college football.  Boise had fans all over the US just because they were such an amazing success story.


I don't know what Petersen will do for an encore.  Maybe get purple astro-turf?

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Sounds like a pretty good hire to me. I'll root for him to do very well. And now we wont't have to look at that blue field any more.

HuskyinDenver
HuskyinDenver

As a UW alum this is awesome news. A huge upgrade for UW - Steve Sarkisian had his time and brought this team back to - well - mediocrity. He was a good recruiter but his teams underachieved to their level of talent. They were among the most penalized teams this year and over Sark's tenure never had the discipline and focus to consistently win on the road.


A big win for UW.

drudown
drudown

Hmm.


Will USC lament not hiring Peterson?

Cool
Cool

I have great respect for what Peterson did at Boise State, but I can't help but wonder if this turns out to be another Hawkins to Colorado like fiasco.  Heck, even Willingham jumped ship at a good gig for Washington and had zero success.  Sometimes it is best to just stay put, but I hope I am wrong in this case.

ajkamp
ajkamp

Willingham was a horrible coach, but was able to pull in some very solid recruits. When Sarkisian took over the helm at the UW, he had a bevy of future NFL starters on the roster. 

 Jake Locker

   Chris Polk

   Donald Butler

   Mason Foster

   Desmond Trufant

   Daniel Te'o-Nesheim

   Erik Folk

   Jermaine Kearse


I'm sure there's a few I'm forgetting, but 0-12 was not indicative of the talent that was at UW when Sarkisian started. Where the Huskies would've been with Mora or Peterson then is purely subjective, but I'd venture to say we'd be a LOT farther along in terms of W & L. 

longbordr52
longbordr52

Good job Washington! I'm not a husky fan, but they've certainly upgraded in terms of coaching. The Pac12 is getting downright frightening, and honestly should be the best conference in the country next year. Any of these teams can win the conference title next year:


Oregon - Mariota returning

Stanford - Shaw is an extraordinary coach

Washington - finally able to lure Petersen out of Boise

Arizona State - Their division win was no fluke

UCLA - Dark horse to make a run at the Final 4 next year if Hundley returns

Southern Cal - With that many 5-star athletes at every single position, it doesn't matter who is coaching


And the remaining teams (outside of Cal) are no slouch:

Arizona - Rich Rod's system can take out anyone

Utah - At home, they are a serious threat to any team

Oregon State - Very hit or miss on any given week

Washington State - Stepping it up under the Pirate

Colorado - Even CU won 4 games under its new coach


And then there's Cal.


Cal - Well, sorry Berkeley. It's going to be rough until Dykes can get his type of athletes (like Rich Rod)



Somehow getting Petersen to leave BSU is quite an accomplishment. He will step right in and make a big impact in the Pac12 North Division. I can't remember the last time this conference was so ridiculously strong.

6marK6
6marK6

Look, the guy is a very strong coach and he has shown it when he played bigger schools in bowl games. He has a ton of talent at UW that the last guy assembled but could not really coach. Washington is about to become real good.

dandogwood
dandogwood

Recruiting LA and California is a lot easier than recruiting the Northwest. and Sunny with a beach. And pretty woman.

StephenGrange
StephenGrange

I think WA. just upgraded considerably...Great hire..Pac 12 gets tougher ...

mike202
mike202

A great hire.  The guy USC really wanted turns them down so they hire Sark away.  We get that guy and step up a couple of notches in the Coaching Department.

Oldtimeduffer
Oldtimeduffer

As a Husky graduate I am THRILLED.  All I can say to Sarkesian is THANK YOU for jumping ship like a thief in the night.  While Sark did improve the program, we have been beset every year with turnovers and penalties at key times (Washington "LED" all of college football in penalties this year).  Attention to detail has always been one of Petersen's strengths.  I look forward to Washington walloping USC while Sarkesian weeps on the sideline.

evangelio
evangelio

Thank you USC!   I think Petersen will be an even better fit for UW!!

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

NO ONE will hear bout BSU again for a looong time. The decent guys are gone and the mystic is past it's prime.

entprof
entprof

Current players and potential recruits have to excited by this hire. The Huskies now have one of the best if not the best head coach in the P-12.

entprof
entprof

Perfect outcome. Sark rebuilt the foundation, but not sure he could take it to the next level. He has not proven himself to be a great game day coach as the Trojans may find out. Peterson has shown he can out coach the very best. A perfect outcome for my Huskies.

Joel1
Joel1

this guy's a good coach.  Good for Washington.

gary41
gary41

Next Q......what about Justin Wilcox??

dandogwood
dandogwood

Good hire in Peterson but the USC job is 20 times better.

mikalrod
mikalrod

92-12. But Haden thinks 34-29 is better! F%#k me running!

Tim C
Tim C

Uhhhhhhhhhhh....fired at Washington too !

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

Look at the rosters of the Oregon and Washington schools and see how many Californians each of them have.  Teams are now allowed to recruit outside their own state.

mike202
mike202

@dandogwood And a campus that has armed Guard Towers and a border students dare not cross.  Plus, terrible facilities and a terrible stadium to play in. 


There is a reason that USC was irrelevant from the McKay years to the Carroll years.

6marK6
6marK6

@dandogwood Don't thing they are the same coach. Would be interested to see if Hawkins would go back.

Crazyotto
Crazyotto

@Oldtimeduffer Couldn't have said it better Sark brought them out of the basement but never far enough and the amount of penalties they always seem to rack up was disturbing and showed a flaw in his coaching or lack thereof. I was glad he left before post-season play. Despite Peterson doing the same I think he will prove to be a much more balanced coach.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

Shocking.  You are pissed that Sarkisian left during the season, but are okay with Chris Peterson doing the same to Boise.

Crazyotto
Crazyotto

@entprofSark never seem to grasp the issue of how penalties hurt his team. I should say he never did much to correct the problem.

Oldtimeduffer
Oldtimeduffer

I agree with entrprof - hopefully he stays at Washington.  Wilcox has made a TREMENDOUS positive impact in just one year at Washington.

entprof
entprof

@gary41 $1 million buy out and he's worked with Peterson. I think we have him for another year maybe 2.

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

@dandogwood more like the MONEY is better at USC. Haden IS an idiot and at least Peterson has some back up

wazzuno1
wazzuno1

Disagree, UW will worship the guy.

USC is cut throat.

Crazyotto
Crazyotto

@mikalrodI am happy that Haden doesn't know the difference. As a Husky fan I like 92-12 versus 34-29. with Sark it was never going to get better than a 50%- 60% season.

ericwkillian
ericwkillian

Haden Tried to get Petersen first and he got turned down

Tim C
Tim C

Season is OVER....just a little bowl for each of them.

It's an upgrade.


Most are glad to see Sark gone.

mike202
mike202

@WHO*IS*ESPN @dandogwood   Sark was the highest paid coach in the PAC 12 and had the highest paid staff.  Washington has every bit as much money, and much better facilities, as USC.  It just doesn't have the recruiting base.

ericwkillian
ericwkillian

UW has no problem matching any PAC 12 team in $ as they showed in upping the budget for Sark's assistants

CALI_DREAMING
CALI_DREAMING

@ericwkillian

Neither of us know for a fact, but maybe Petersen realized that Haden really had decided to hire Sark and withdrew instead of being spurned; the Boise fan base knew he was looking and that makes it difficult yo stay at that point. Honestly my opinion, like yours, is just one take on the situation. 

morganize
morganize

Plus he was on the hot seat at UW

morganize
morganize

Sark will make way more money at USC.  USC is a private school and does not need to publish their head coach's salary.  Sark is probably moving from $3M/year to $6M/year.

rapid.1
rapid.1

@dandogwood  Because Sark has deeeep ties to USC and the LA/So Cal area. Family, history - can't be ignored. Only time will tell which move was better, but the jobs are NOT 20x apart. UW doesn't have the historical success of USC, but in this day the HC positions at both schools are similar in prestige.