Huard: The signs that Chris Petersen would walk away from UW Huskies
Chris Petersen shocked a lot of people when the UW Huskies announced his resignation as Washington’s head football coach on Monday.
Brock Huard was not among the shocked.
The longtime 710 ESPN Seattle host, current FOX college football analyst and former Husky quarterback said shared on Tuesday morning what he thought when he heard the news about Petersen.
“Not surprised. Not surprised that it happened this way,” Huard said during the daily Blue 42 segment on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant. “(It happened) probably a year before I thought it would, but we’ve been talking about this a lot. … I’ve even said it publicly that this is the way it’s going to end. He’s not going to leave for another job, he’s just going to say ‘I’m done’ with the whole college football deal.”
Huard mentioned that he and Danny O’Neil, his former co-host and a fellow Washington alum, had discussed the possibility of Petersen walking away in the past, and echoed sentiments O’Neil made in a column Monday about the Huskies’ coaching change.
“Your article was spot-on,” Huard said to O’Neil. “Early this morning I was listening to some national radio and they were talking as well about college coaching today and the burden that’s on these guys 365 days a year, and a micro-manager like Chris Petersen, it’s just simply too much.”
And it’s only going to get tougher on coaches with the NCAA preparing to open up ways for athletes to be paid for their image and likeness.
“Where this college game is going, where the transfer portal is taking it, with some of the player royalties and things to come in the next few years, it’s a model that is outside of (Petersen’s) structure,” Huard said. “He is a Boise State guy. He is ‘Give me two- and three-(star recruits) and let me develop them into NFL studs,’ and ‘Let’s get our hard hat and our lunch pail and let’s develop and grow, let’s take on the big boys and find ways to get to 10 wins, 11 wins’ as he did year after year after year in Boise.”
O’Neil chimed in that Petersen is perhaps the kind of coach that is a dying breed in college football these days.
“I’ve always thought that he has a more in some ways dated or old school vision of what a college coach should do in that he really does see himself as an educator,” O’Neil said. “He sees himself as it’s his responsibility to sort of shepherd these guys as they go from living at home in high school with their parents to being ready for the real world when they leave (college).”
It may also be a case of Petersen having the foresight to get out of the game before it becomes something he isn’t suited for.
“As much as anything, his decision to walk away reflects that he doesn’t like this new era of college football that we’re about to embark on, and I think it’s inevitable because I don’t think you can keep not paying players,” O’Neil said. “I don’t think with the volume of money that’s involved in the sport that you can keep it cut off from the players, but it’s going to change the sport, and there are going to be ways that it changes it not for the better and this is one of them. If that change costs you Chris Petersen, that’s a negative because Chris Petersen is the kind of coach you want.
“I would have been totally happy if you tell me that Washington never gets any better than it’s been over the past few years, they never get over the hump. I still want Chris Petersen to be my head coach for the next 20 years.”
Huard added that, in some ways, it may be surprising that Petersen rose as high as he did in the coaching ranks.
“I had a coach this year tell me on the road that Chris Petersen never wanted to be a head coach,” he said. “He wasn’t a ‘climber.’ … That’s just not the way he’s wired. He never desired it. He really grew into it, he fell into it, he went to the perfect spot at Boise and then showed all the talents he had.”
You can listen to the full segment at this link or in the podcast embedded below.