The college football world was stunned on Monday by coaching news out of Washington. Somehow, the big coaching news didn’t involve Washington State’s Mike Leach going elsewhere, but instead was Chris Petersen stepping down from his post as head coach of the Washington Huskies.
The school announced the news with a press release that, truly, no one saw coming. Petersen will coach Washington in their bowl game, but will be stepping away from the game to “recharge” after that, accepting an advisory position within the athletic department.
“It has been a privilege and a professional dream fulfilled to be part of this world-class institution,” Petersen said. “I will forever be grateful, honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to coach our fine young men on Montlake for these past six seasons. I thank each of them, as well as our coaches and administrative staff for the incredible commitment they’ve made to Husky football during my tenure. The football program and Husky Athletics across the board will continue to prosper – and do it the right way – with Jen Cohen’s leadership and the University administration’s commitment to excellence. I’ll be a Husky for life, but now is the right time for me to step away from my head coaching duties, and recharge.”
Defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake will be the new head coach of the Huskies, so Washington will not be joining the coaching carousel this offseason, but the move was rather shocking. Washington went 7-5 this season, a disappointing performance for a team that was favored just ahead of Oregon entering the year to win the Pac-12 North. Petersen won a pair of Pac-12 titles at Washington in his six seasons there after a stellar tenure as the head coach of Boise State. His career record of 146-38 (.793) at Boise and Washington speaks for itself in terms of the success he had at both schools.