SEATTLE -- The University of Washington pulled off what several programs with more national cachet have not been able to accomplish in recent years - lure Chris Petersen away from Boise State.
Petersen was announced as the Huskies' new head football coach on Friday, four days after Steve Sarkisian left Washington to take over Southern California's program.
"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. "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."
Petersen, 49, compiled a 92-12 record in eight seasons at Boise State, and has been one of the hottest coaching commodities in college football the past few seasons. He has turned down numerous opportunities and reportedly pulled his name from consideration at USC before Sarkisian was hired Monday, but UW has a newly renovated stadium and afforded Petersen the opportunity to stay in the Northwest, where his wife, Barbara, and two sons reportedly prefer to live.
The Huskies were turned down by Jim Mora, who signed a six-year extension with UCLA, and Missouri coach and former Huskies assistant Gary Pinkel announced on Thursday that he was staying with the Tigers. Woodward zeroed in on Petersen and Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who was Sarkisian's offensive coordinator from 2009-11 and reportedly met with UW officials Thursday.
Woodward and senior associate athletic director Jennifer Cohen traveled to Boise to work out the terms of the agreement with Petersen on Thursday night. Petersen went home to discuss it with his wife and sleep on the decision before making the move official Friday morning. Petersen informed his Boise State players of the decision in a Friday meeting.
Boise State has worked hard to keep Petersen, giving him a five-year, $4.25 million contract in 2007 and a new five-year, $8 million extension in 2010 after he led the Broncos to an undefeated season. He continued to receive, and turn down, overtures from major programs as it appeared Petersen was content to keep his family in Boise.
That was, until Woodward came knocking after Sarkisian's departure rocked the Huskies program on Monday. Once Mora and Pinkel were no longer options, it appeared Washington was in a very difficult situation with Petersen considered a longshot to consider the Huskies after previously declining to pursue openings at UCLA, USC and Oregon, among others.
With Washington, Petersen stays in the Northwest, where he has been coaching since serving as the quarterbacks coach at Portland State from 1993-94. He moved on to become the Oregon Ducks' wide receivers coach from 1995-2000 before becoming Boise State's offensive coordinator in 2001 and later the Broncos' head coach in 2006.
Petersen led the Broncos to five conference championships and a pair of BCS games. Boise State is 8-4 this season, including a season-opening loss to Washington in the debut of the Huskies' $281 million renovated stadium in a packed house on the edge of Lake Washington.
"I know Bronco Nation joins me in thanking Chris Petersen for all he did to advance Boise State's football program over the past 13 years," Boise State president Bob Kustra said. "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."
Petersen is the only two-time winner of the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award (2006, 2009), and led the Broncos to at least 10 wins in seven of his eight seasons.
Huskies quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo will serve as the Huskies' head coach in the team's bowl game.
Petersen is known as a creative offensive mind and features a spread offense. However, one of his first priorities is hiring a defensive coordinator. Petersen may be able to retain Justin Wilcox, the Huskies' respected defensive coordinator who declined to join Sarkisian at USC. Wilcox was Petersen's defensive coordinator at Boise State from 2006-09, but could now be in the running to replace Petersen in Boise.