And The Nominees are In: Boise State’s Chris Petersen
In anticipation of the revelation of the new football coach, I have made a few selections for who might lead the Razorbacks next season.
My first pick for the position is Chris Petersen. I am picking him because amongst my sources, that is the name being thrown around more than any other — but, of course, that could mean nothing.
Petersen is the head coach at Boise State University. He would not be the first Arkansas coach to come straight from Boise State. Houston Nutt was the head coach of the Broncos before departing for Fayetteville in 1998.
Petersen was born in Yuba City, Calif. and attended the University of California-Davis where he played quarterback and then started his coaching career there soon after graduating in 1987.
Petersen is the 48-year-old husband of Barbara Petersen and the father of Jack and Sam Petersen.
Petersen has been on staff at Boise State since 2001, proving he can and will make long-term commitments. He became the head coach of the Broncos in 2006, which is his first and only head coaching job of his career.
Petersen has mostly coached at west coast schools besides a year as a quarterbacks coach at Pittsburgh. He has never coached anywhere near the Southeastern Conference.
Under Petersen’s leadership, the Broncos won four Western Athletic Conference championships and two Fiesta Bowls in 2007 and 2010 over Oklahoma and Texas Christian University, respectively.
The 2007 Fiesta Bowl was the capstone of Petersen’s first year as head coach. He was only the fourth rookie head coach to lead a team to a BCS bowl game.
That game and Boise State’s undefeated 2006-2007 season pushed Petersen into the national spotlight. The game was famously won on a gutsy Statue of Liberty play call to get a two-point conversion in overtime and defeat the Sooners. Since then, Petersen has been known for high-powered offenses and bold play calling.
Petersen has been awarded the Bear Bryant Award twice, was named the WAC Coach of the Year in 2008 and was named the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year in 2010
The Broncos are 82-8 in Petersen’s seven seasons as head coach. They have gone to a BCS game twice and ended the season ranked in the top 10 four times
Petersen did sign a new contract at Boise in January. He is getting a base salary of $2 million with $200,000 raises each season. That contract is still awaiting final approval by the Idaho State Board of Education.
Petersen has clearly been an attractive candidate for head coaching jobs in the past. It will be hard to lure him away from a program he basically built from the ground up
I think he is an exciting, competent coach and a good leader. Seeing what he has done at a school with relatively limited resources makes me excited to see what he can do when the resources are virtually endless.