Boise State coach Chris Petersen has been named the next head coach of the Washington Huskies Friday, marking a huge win for the resurgent program. Petersen, who has repeatedly turned down other high-profile job offers, brings an impressive track record of success to Seattle.
Petersen is 92-12 at Boise State since 2006 and was a candidate for the Huskies job in 2009 before Washington hired Steve Sarkisian, who left for USC earlier this week. Washington has been steadily improving under Sarkisian, but the Huskies have not quite been able to get over the hump and compete for a Pac 12 North title.
Though Boise State slipped to an 8-4 mark this season, including a 38-6 loss to Washington, there’s no reason to doubt Petersen’s ability to continue the upward trend Sarkisian started at U-Dub. The Huskies had the support, talent and facilities to challenge Oregon and Stanford all along, and now they have the right coach.
In eight seasons, Petersen led Boise State to five conference titles, four in the Western Athletic Conference and one in the Mountain West. The Broncos are eligible for a bowl berth this year and had reached a bowl game in each of Petersen’s seven previous seasons. Boise State won five of those games, twice winning the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Other names had been linked to the opening at Washington, including Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who was the offensive coordinator at Washington under Sarkisian from 2009 to 2011 before being lured away by Nick Saban.
On Thursday, another potential candidate, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, withdrew his name from consideration, saying, “I’m a Missouri Tiger, and I’m going to stay a Missouri Tiger.”
For the last five years, Petersen has been at the top of a number of schools’ coaching wish lists. But the Broncos head coach hadn’t expressed any interest in leaving Boise State, repeatedly declining interviews with top-tier programs and removing his name from consideration.
The fact that Petersen even interviewed for the Washington job is significant in and of itself. And by winning him over, the Huskies have scored the biggest coaching hire of the season. It’s a win for Petersen as well. In addition to being one of the highest paid coaches in the Pac 12, he now has the opportunity to lead a top-notch program.
But while the Huskies celebrate their good fortune, Boise State will lament the departure of one of the most beloved coaches in Broncos history. For Washington fans, that’s a good sign of what’s to come.