Washington hires Boise State’s Chris Petersen

Dec 6, 2013, 9:05 AM | Updated: 5:48 pm

Chris Petersen is coming to Washington after compiling a 92-12 record during eight seasons at Boise State. (AP)

By Brady Henderson

Washington has landed its man, luring Chris Petersen away from Boise State.

The university made the announcement Friday, ending a four-day search for a new coach and beginning a new era of Washington 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,” Washington athletic director Scott Woodward said in a press release.

“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.”

The school will formally introduce Petersen in a press conference Monday.

In Petersen, 49, Washington landed the highest-profile coach of those believed to be on the school’s list after Steve Sarkisian left on Monday for USC. Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and Huskies defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox were reportedly scheduled to interview for the job, while Jim Mora was rumored to be a candidate before agreeing to a six-year contract extension to remain at UCLA’s head coach.

Hear what college football reporters and analysts are telling 710 ESPN Seattle about Washington hiring coach Chris Petersen.

Joe Schad of ESPN.com
Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN
710 ESPN’s Brock Huard
Rece Davis of ESPN

None of those candidates could match resumes with Petersen, a two-time coach of the year who compiled a 92-12 record during eight seasons at Boise State. His tenure with the Broncos includes two unbeaten seasons, five conference titles, two BCS bowl victories and a 5-2 postseason record.

In luring Petersen away from Boise State, Washington has done what numerous schools have tried and failed to do. Petersen’s name was mentioned seemingly every time a prominent head-coaching job became available in recent seasons, yet he turned down opportunities at places like Stanford and UCLA to remain in Boise. Most recently, Petersen was a candidate at USC before reportedly withdrawing his name from consideration.

Details of Petersen’s contract with UW were not released, but but Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com reports that it’s worth $18 million over five years for an annual average of $3.6 million, making him the highest paid coach in the Pac-12.

Petersen, a native of Yuba City, Calif., was a record-setting quarterback at UC Davis before beginning his coaching career at his alma mater in 1987. He coached quarterbacks at Pittsburgh and Portland State then was Oregon’s wide receivers coach before becoming the offensive coordinator at Boise State in 2001.

“I know Bronco Nation joins me in thanking Chris Petersen for all he did to advance Boise Sate’s football program over the past thirteen years,” Boise State president Bob Kustra said in a statement. “He is not only a great coach but a great person and an asset to the community. We were lucky to have him at Boise State and Washington is lucky to get him.”

Three UW assistants following Sark

USC has hired three former Washington assistant coaches as Johnny Nansen (special teams, running backs), Keith Heyward (secondary) and Peter Sirmon (linebackers) will follow Sarkisian to Los Angeles.

According to reports, USC also wants to hire Justin Wilcox but may not be willing to pay all of the $1 million buyout that is part of his contract with UW. Wilcox, the Huskies’ defensive coordinator the last two seasons, was reportedly in consideration to replace Sarkisian at UW before Petersen was hired.


• Petersen will not coach Boise State in the Broncos’ upcoming bowl game.

Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.

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