The Washington Huskies have hired their new head coach, Boise State’s Chris Petersen. A day after the Huskie fan base was let down when Jim Mora passed them up to stay at UCLA the school landed the oft-inquired about Broncos head coach.
The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but sources have claimed that Petersen will be one of the highest-paid coaches in the Pac-12.
Petersen knows a thing or two about money. He has received many a contract extension while heading the Broncos. His most recent came in the offseason after 2011 when the State Board of Education approved a five-year deal with a base salary of $2 million for 2012 and a $200,000 raise each season he remained in Boise. The contract made him the highest paid coach in the Western Athletic Conference by far, but the cash was well deserved. In 2009 Petersen become the only head coach in NCAA football history to win the Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant award twice for best collegiate coach in the nation.
This is by no means the first time that Petersen’s name has come up in regards to Pac-12 coaching jobs. In the past few seasons both UCLA and Stanford had inquired about him and just earlier this week many considered him to be the front runner for the USC job, which was oddly enough filled by Steve Sarkisian the man he is now replacing at Washington. Petersen’s name has popped up for vacant head coaching jobs every offseason since leading Boise State to a memorable upset of the Oklahoma Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl in 2007.
The biggest challenge that Petersen faced in Boise was the ability to get to a BCS title game. His teams often had exceptional talent, but the lack of strength in the Western Athletic Conference meant that the team could not afford a single loss during the season. Despite Petersen’s 92-12 record as the Broncos’ head coach the team never played for a national title.
At Washington things will be a bit different for Petersen. The Pac-12 provides the conference power that means a one loss team can certainly compete for a national title, especially with the tournament structure of the BCS just around the corner. Petersen comes to Washington just at the right time. Sarkisian took a 0-12 team and turned them into an 8-game winner this season and they will return all their starters on the offensive and defensive lines for 2014. Washington also has two competent quarterbacks on their roster meaning Petersen will be looking to win from day one.
Boise State has not yet announced who they may look to hired to replace the big shoes left behind by Petersen, but school president Bob Kustra was quick to thank the new Huskies head coach for all his work, “I know Bronco Nation joins me in thanking Chris Petersen for all he did.”
The sentiments are well deserved. The Broncos will hate to see Petersen go, but he has given more than enough to the Idaho school and it’s now his time to set his eyes on bringing the Huskies a national championship.
By James Hadley