Chris Petersen to resign as Washington's football coach

Carrie Guzman
December 5, 2019

Petersen, 55, has never expressed any health issues, nor complained about money or control problems at Montlake.

Petersen went 146-38 over 14 seasons at Boise State and Washington, where he served the last six years and went 54-26 and 34-20 in Pac-12 play including 2-4 against Oregon.

This was supposed to be a rebuilding year, and it was - going 7-5 with a few rough patches.

The specific reasoning for Petersen's departure is unclear.

Lake, 42, has been with the program since 2014.

Mario Cristobal and Kyle Whittingham were as surprised as the rest of college football by Chris Petersen's decision to step down at Washington's coach Monday morning. Huskies athletic director Jennifer Cohen named defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake as the team's new coach in a press release. Petersen will coach through the Huskies' bowl game before transitioning "into a leadership advisory role for Husky Athletics", according to the media release.

"It has been a privilege and a professional dream come true to be part of this world class institution", Petersen said at the team launch. It's why - in a time when some schools offer 300 to 400 players a chance to take one of 25 football scholarships - the Huskies were incredibly selective in the players they sought. That.793 winning percentage is the second highest among FBS coaches with at least 100 wins. The Huskies won 39 games from 2015 through 2018 - most ever by the UW in a four-year stretch.

"Chris has been transformational for not only our football program, but our entire athletic department", Cohen said. Jimmy is a great teacher of the game and his track record of developing young men both on and off the field speaks for itself. "I can't thank him sufficient for his service and management, and I look ahead to having him keep on workers in a management advisory position, so he can proceed to affect people throughout our division and the complete campus". He was immediately granted a five-year deal with a pretty hefty salary.

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"Wow", Whittingham said. "All I got for that is wow".

Petersen had told Alexander it would be really good for him to visit and see how Lake teaches. If moving up the college-football food chain was Petersen's priority, he would have left Boise State long before 2013.

Washington's defense has led the Pac-12 in total defense and scoring defense the past four years.

Lake, a former safety at Eastern Washington, began his coaching career in 1999. Instead, it's losing him, and I'll close by saying thank you to Petersen for everything he did in rebuilding a program that had bottomed out under Tyrone Willingham and been uneven under Sarkisian.

When he finally chose to jump to Washington in 2013, Petersen realized he needed a new challenge and Boise State needed a new voice in charge.

As we all know, Coach Lake is one of the best recruiters in the country, period. "He has an extraordinary way of relating to our student-athletes, is a gifted teacher of the game, and has a vision for what will make this program successful".

Can he take the program to a whole other level?

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