In an era when coaches leave programs after one season, and possibly even before a full season, Chris Petersen is setting up for the long haul.
As Chadd Cripe reported in The Idaho Statesman on Thursday, the Idaho State Board of Education unanimously approved a five-year, $11.7 million dollar contract for the Boise State head coach. Petersen will enter his seventh season manning the sidelines of the Smurf Turf, having compiled the best record of any coach over that same timespan, 73-6.
Petersen’s contract answers the question I posed last month, whether he was better off remaining in Boise or seeking glory elsewhere. Though BSU’s success was set in motion before him by Dirk Koetter and Dan Hawkins, Petersen has taken the program to a level almost unparalleled. The only era comparable to matching BSU’s success from a non-power conference in the big money era is Brigham Young of the 1980s.
The proposition of Petersen standing pat seemed likely when UCLA was unable to land his services. The allure of a Pac-12 program in the nation’s second largest market, with all its history and potential had to be tempting. But why leave a program already established as a national contender for the prospect of maybe, potentially doing so again under greater duress? Further, BSU is at a pinnacle UCLA simply cannot reach. Few programs can. That Petersen has brought one that played in Division I-AA less than two decades ago to the forefront of all college football has made him an icon.
There is no guarantee Petersen remains at BSU for the full five years of his extension, but if he does he would be 52 when it elapses. That’s still a young pup by coaching standards. Assuredly, his name will surface in more coaching hunts — if Chip Kelly leaves Oregon for any reason, I suspect Phil Knight commissions slurry bombers to drop cash over Petersen’s home.
In the interim though, BSU brass and fans have to feel good.