It has become an annual tradition to put Chris Petersen on just about every watch list for open head coaching positions of BCS conference teams. The head coach of the Boise State Broncos is always a hot commodity when it comes to coaching rumors, and every year is finally “the year” that he moves on from the blue turf of Boise for greener pastures elsewhere… Except that he never does. With another offseason come and gone, and spring practices getting ready to begin with Petersen still in charge of the Broncos, it’s safe to say that he may never leave Boise State.
If there was ever a year for Petersen to make the jump, this would have been it. Boise State was in a state of transition, making the move from the Mountain West Conference to the sinking ship of the Big East. The two programs that Petersen had reportedly considered as the only jobs he would leave Boise for (Cal Bears and Oregon Ducks) both came available, and the Broncos’ head coach’s stock couldn’t possibly get any higher. It was a perfect storm of opportunity for Petersen to move on, if he chose to.
But despite all of that, Petersen showed little interest in pursuing the Cal job and kept quiet on the Oregon job while they promoted Mark Helfrich, who could hold down the position for the next 10 years. His patience was rewarded with the promise of some conference stability when Boise State decided to return to the WMC, which looks to have a brighter future than the Big East, with its strongest position in league history.
It’s still not the Big 12 or Pac 12, but Boise State is now part of a Mountain West that adds two 11-win teams from last season in the San Jose State Spartans and Utah State Aggies and a conference championship game. That’s on top of the returning group, that includes two nine-win programs with the Fresno State Bulldogs and San Diego State Aztecs, who shared the 2012 conference title with Boise State, and is poised to be the strongest non-BCS conference in the nation.
In short, there was never a greater opportunity for Petersen to leave than in this last offseason and there will be far less reason for him to leave in 2013 than at any point in his tenure with the Broncos. Turns out, Boise State fans were right about their coach, and he won’t be going anywhere for a very long time.