Chris Peterson, known affectionately as Coach Pete, was finally lured away from Boise State. The Washington Huskies hired Coach Pete as their next head man taking over a Huskies team coming off their best record in years at 8 – 4. It’s been well over a decade since Washington won eight or more games. Now Coach Pete takes over a program that Steve Sarkisian was bringing up through the PAC-12 ranks. Can Coach Pete continue that climb? Only time will tell.
Peterson won an amazing 92 games during his eight year stretch as the head guy at Boise State. His 88.6 winning percentage is tops in the country during this time. He won five conference titles and never finished worst than second place. Seven bowl game appearances, winning five of those seven, including a 2 – 0 mark in the Fiesta Bowl. His teams have produced 17 NFL draft picks, including four in the first round. His teams have finished in the top five nationally twice, top ten four times, and top 20 six times. Many may forget he was the offensive coordinator for five years under Coach Dan Hawkins before taking over when Coach Hawkins left for Colorado. Since 2001, Coach Pete’s first year in Boise, the Broncos have averaged 40 points a game, tops in the nation.
There will undoubtedly be those who will be upset with Coach Pete and hope he fails, which is disturbing. Coach Pete leaving has little, if at all, to do about money but more about a possible dream job. The Idaho Statesman reported former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti approached Coach Pete about being his successor at Oregon. Belloti’s comment, “He wasn’t as excited about that, but the Washington job was one that had always intrigued him.” That was seven years ago.
Instead of being upset with Coach Pete let’s look at all he has accomplished with this program over the years. Boise State is a nationally recognized team and though there were many coaches before him that helped lay the foundation, it was Coach Pete who took this program to the next level. The University has added several state of the art facilities and stadium expansion, all under Coach Pete. Recruiting as grown as well. Many will tell you he’s recruiting skills are second to none and a big reason the team always seemed to reload rather than rebuild. It is what he has accomplished that will allow this program to continue. Few have little doubt Boise State will find a new coach who will come in here and continue what Coach Pete started.
People will always talk about the wins, the national exposure, the great Boise State teams but the one thing that is not mentioned as much as it should be is the man, the character and the integrity. Not only was he a great coach but it always did things the right way. His players always came before the win, and the team always came before the players. He was not afraid to suspend a star no matter the cost. He expected his players to succeed on the field but wanted them to succeed off the field more.
No question Coach Pete will be missed but it is now time to move on, time to focus on the here and now. If the program focuses on the past, the future will fail. This will be an important hire for the university but they have always done a good job. Boise State has had a long line of successful coaches. Will the next coach become the next Coach Pete? Is this the fate of Boise State, hire a new coach who succeeds only to lose them to a bigger school? Hard to say, you simply never know what the future holds.
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