SEATTLE — After all the other schools that called over the years and were sent away, it was Washington that finally hooked Chris Petersen.
Petersen will be the Huskies’ football coach, making the decision to leave Boise State after eight seasons as the Broncos head coach.
The former UC Davis quarterback was offered the job on Thursday night during a meeting with Washington athletic director Scott Woodward in Boise. After a night of sleep, Petersen called Friday morning to accept the position before meeting with his Boise State team.
He’s leaving after an unprecedented run of success at Boise State: five conference titles, 92 victories, two Fiesta Bowl wins and credit for putting the Broncos on a national stage for more than just its blue turf field and trick plays.
“Coach Petersen’s success and record are extraordinary, but even more impressive is the man himself,” Woodward said in a statement released by the school. “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.”
Petersen replaces Steve Sarkisian, who went 34-29 in five seasons at Washington before leaving earlier this week to take the job at USC. Petersen was 92-12 in his eight seasons at Boise State. But he’s coming off the worst regular season in his tenure with the Broncos after going 8-4, including a 38-6 loss at Washington in the season opener.
Petersen played at UCD in 1985 and 1986, when he was named the Northern California Athletic Conference Player of the Year and was the top-rated Division II quarterback in the nation. He received second-team Kodak All-America honors and set the D-II record for career pass completion percentage (69.6).
Petersen was inducted into the Cal Aggie Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993, then earned the 2011 UCD Legacy Award which honors past Aggie student-athletes for achievements made subsequent to their departure from campus.
Petersen also started his coaching career at UCD, serving as head freshman coach in 1987-88 and the receivers coach from 1989-91.
That Washington was able to pry Petersen away is surprising after so many other schools tried unsuccessfully before. He’s been linked to jobs all over the country but primarily West Coast jobs at USC, UCLA and Stanford. Every time he said “No thanks,” until now.
In 2006, Petersen took over as Boise State’s head coach from Dan Hawkins, another former Aggie football standout, and turned the Broncos into the darling of the BCS. Whether it was the audacious trick plays that led to Boise State’s BCS upset of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, or the staggering run of victories with Kellen Moore at quarterback, Petersen was the one directing the Broncos’ rise.
The Broncos won five conference championships under Petersen and won 12 games in every season between 2008 and 2011. The Broncos got as high as No. 2 in the AP Top 25 in 2010 and might have found themselves playing in another BCS game if not for an overtime loss at Nevada in the next-to-last game of the regular season.