Better Gig? Chris Petersen Dumps Trojans, Chooses Huskies
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To each his own.
Dan Hawkins gradually built Boise State football into a non-BCS program that appeared ready to have its moment in the sun at the expense of BCS schools. It catapulted him into a higher-paying, greater-visibility, but ultimately a star-crossed job with the Colorado Buffaloes, leaving the Broncos and their presumed lesser light to his offensive coordinator.
That was Chris Petersen.
Pat Haden wanted to make a statement about the regality of USC football by making an impact hire in the wake of Lane Kiffin's disastrous cloak-and-swagger reign with the Trojans. In the process, the Trojan AD's star-studded short list was shortened by one when his advances were summarily rejected by a prime candidate.
That was Chris Petersen.
Steve Sarkisian called Washington his "dream" job in quashing speculation about his moving to another program. However, it transpired that Sark's take on the term was that while he coached the Huskies, he could dream about returning to USC. He got his wish, and the Dawgs have now quickly hired a replacement, one who its players and fan base would consider an upgrade.
That is Chris Petersen.
The vapor trails of the private jet whisking Sarkisian off to sunny but earthquake-prone southern California had hardly dissipated when UW athletic director Scott Woodward had finished committing new contract details to the coach who made 'Boise State' and 'BCS buster' an annually synonymous pairing. Woodward's visit to the Idaho capital yesterday was not an interview, but the completion of a lightning-quick negotiation that will make Petersen one of the highest-paid coaches in the conference.
And so the coach who crafted a 92-12 record inclusive of dynamic BCS bowl victories and strong non-conference successes is embarking on a new challenge. Specifically, his mandate is to do what Sarkisian couldn't: elevate the Huskies to elite status in a strong conference.
In fairness to Sark, he's left a speedy, talent-laden program for Petersen to mold. As well, with Petersen's credibility and well-established recruiting network along the West Coast, Washington's access to blue-chip prospects shouldn't ebb anytime soon. Better yet, in the eyes of Husky Nation, Petersen has shown an ability similar to that of the legendary Don James; he has a knack for turning the red- and white-chip prospects who fill out every recruiting class into bona fidé frontliners well worthy of inclusion on NFL rosters long before they've graduated from the program.
The intrigue now shifts to the Husky assistants. Sarkisian wants to bring recruiting pied piper Tosh Lupoi to USC, but the Trojans have yet to be convinced about covering his contract buyout. Sark also wants wunderkind defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, who restored Washington's respectability on that side of the ball; the Trojans don't want to pay for his buyout, either. Wilcox clearly coveted a shot at being the next Husky head coach, but he made his name as the DC at Boise State under Petersen, so the notion of this possible reunion may well be a key factor as to whether or not he'll stay at Montlake.
Personnel issues will be sorted soon enough. For now, Husky Nation is ecstatic.