Chris Petersen says being a head coach can ‘become very heavy’
By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE (AP) – With the evidence mounting in his mind that a break was necessary, Washington coach Chris Petersen decided just a couple of days before the Apple Cup that he was going to step away.
Outside of his wife, no one knew of Petersen’s decision that eventually led to his resignation and Jimmy Lake’s promotion to Huskies head coach.
After six seasons as the head coach at Washington, eight before that at Boise State and nearly 40 years involved with football overall, Petersen decided it was time to take a break.
“It becomes a lot of frustration and anxiety and stress. And some of the excitement and positivity and optimism can be pushed away, and that’s never a way to lead your life,” Petersen said Tuesday.
Petersen doesn’t know entirely what is next for him. He didn’t rule out coaching again – “I’m not falling for that trick question,” – but sounded more interested in philanthropy and leadership than the stress of being a football coach.
Washington intends to keep Petersen involved with the athletic department in a leadership advisory role with the scope still to be determined.
“I’ve just got to figure out where all this energy and this passion and inspiration goes, and I don’t want it to be on the football field,” Petersen said. “I’m excited to see what this whole thing takes, because I do have a lot of thoughts and ideas and passion for helping others. I’ve been through so many things in this business, so many things, that I think I can help other people in this business and maybe outside of it.
“And I have a lot to learn as well. Look, I’m excited to really go learn some things that I haven’t been able to figure out in my mind as well as I would like to.”
Petersen said he came to realize his passion was waning after last year’s Rose Bowl. Petersen said he didn’t appreciate the grandeur and history of playing in the Rose Bowl and was too caught up in the stress of the matchup with Ohio State.
“You worked your whole life to get there. And I didn’t really appreciate the week, I didn’t appreciate the game like I need to as a kid growing up looking at that game,” he said. “And I think that was one of the things that really hit me loud and clear, and you start to pay attention to that.”
Petersen’s final game in charge at Washington will be the Huskies’ pending bowl.