Chris Petersen

Chris Petersen
Sport(s) Football
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Washington
Conference Pac-12
Record 37–18
Annual salary $4.375 million[1]
Biographical details
Born (1964-10-13) October 13, 1964
Yuba City, California
Alma mater University of California, Davis
B.S. (1988), M.Ed.
Sacramento City College, A.A.
Playing career
1983–1984 Sacramento C.C.[2]
1985–1986 UC Davis
Position(s) Quarterback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1987–1988 UC Davis (freshman)
1989–1991 UC Davis (WR)
1992 Pittsburgh (QB)
1993–1994 Portland State (QB)
1995–2000 Oregon (WR)
2001–2005 Boise State (OC)
2006–2013 Boise State
2014–present Washington
Head coaching record
Overall 129–30
Bowls 6–5
Accomplishments and honors
1 Pac-12 (2016)
2 Pac-12 North Division (2016, 2017)
4 WAC (2006, 2008–2010)
1 Mountain West (2012)
Paul "Bear" Bryant Award (2006, 2009)
Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award (2010)

Christopher Scott Petersen (born October 13, 1964) is an American football coach. He is the current head coach at the University of Washington.

Previously the head coach for eight seasons at Boise State University, Petersen guided the Broncos to two BCS bowl wins: the 2007 and 2010 Fiesta Bowls. He is the first two-time winner of the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award, which he won in 2006 and 2009. Petersen also won the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award in 2010.

Early life

Born and raised in Yuba City, California, Petersen played safety and quarterback for the Honkers at Yuba City High School.[3] After graduation in 1983, he played quarterback for the Sacramento City College Panthers for two seasons, then transferred to non-scholarship UC Davis,[2] then in Division II. He earned a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1988 and a master's degree in education from UC Davis.

Coaching career

Early coaching career

Petersen began his coaching career in 1987 as the head freshman coach at UC Davis under Hall of Fame coach Jim Sochor. In 1989, he became the receivers coach for the varsity, departing in 1992 to become the quarterbacks coach at Pittsburgh. While at Pittsburgh, he coached QB Alex Van Pelt to a season where he threw for over 3,100 yards with twenty touchdowns.

He moved back west in 1993 to coach the quarterbacks at Portland State under Tim Walsh; the Vikings advanced to the Division II playoffs in both 1993 and 1994. Petersen moved over to Oregon in 1995 as the receivers coach, and spent six years as an assistant for the Ducks under head coach Mike Bellotti. In 1996, WR Cristin McLeMore topped 1,000 yards receiving. In 1997, WR Pat Johnson topped 1,000 yards. In 1998, WRs Damon Griffin and Tony Hartley both topped 1,000 yards on the year.

In January 2001, Petersen was hired as the offensive coordinator at Boise State by newly-promoted head coach Dan Hawkins.[4] The offense peaked in 2003, scoring a school-best 602 points en route to a 13-1 season: QB Ryan Dinwiddie threw for 4,356 yards and 31 TD, RB David Mikell ran for 1,142 yards and 13 TD, and WR Tim Gilligan had 1,192 yards and 6 TD.[5]

Boise State

Hawkins left Boise State for Colorado after the 2005 season, and Petersen was promoted to head coach on December 16. Sophomore tailback Ian Johnson said about the transition, "We trusted him and knew he was going to take care of us. We knew he was a great person. He was going to recruit people just like himself. We waited for him to get everybody here and he got in the perfect people."[6] Petersen had served as offensive coordinator at Boise State for five seasons and was twice nominated for the Broyles Award, given to the nation's best assistant coach.

2007 Fiesta Bowl

In his first year as head coach in 2006, Petersen led the Broncos to an undefeated regular season and the program's first ever BCS bowl game berth. He became the fourth rookie head coach to lead a team to a BCS bowl game. Boise State was the only undefeated team in Division I FBS for the 2006 season.

The Broncos defeated Big 12 champion Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl as only the second BCS non-AQ conference school to play in a BCS bowl, after Utah in 2004. In the 43–42 overtime win, Petersen drew particular attention for his bold play calling at the end of the game: A 50-yard hook-and-lateral play on 4th-and-18 described as "stunning"[7] for a tying touchdown with just 7 seconds left in regulation, an option pass (off a direct snap to a wide receiver) on 4th-and-2 in overtime, and a "Statue of Liberty" misdirection play for the two-point conversion to win the game in overtime. Petersen stated, "We were trying to get to it earlier, to tell you the truth. We needed a play like that to get it over with."[7]

Improved contracts

After the undefeated season of 2006, the Idaho State Board of Education approved a new contract for Petersen on February 22, 2007, paying him $4.25 million for five years, or $850,000 per year. Petersen’s salary was paid mostly by revenue from the Football Coaches Club, the Bronco Athletic Association booster club, and media and public appearances. State-appropriated funds covered $150,000 per year.

After leading Boise State to another undefeated regular season in 2009, Petersen was rewarded with a new five-year contract extension on January 1, 2010.[8] The state board of education approved the new contract on April 22, which paid $8 million over five years, or $1.6 million per year. The contract also included automatic one-year extensions to the contract each time Petersen won at least eight regular season games.[9]

Petersen's last contract in Boise was agreed to on January 3, 2012. The five-year deal called for a base salary of $2 million for the 2012 season, with $200,000 raises in each subsequent season. It also included retention bonuses of $100,000 after two years and $200,000 in each of the final three years of the deal.[10]


On December 6, 2013, Petersen agreed to a five-year, $18 million contract to become the new head coach at Washington.[11] He replaced Steve Sarkisian, who announced that he was leaving Washington to take the same position at USC three days after the 2013 Apple Cup.

Petersen signed a two-year contract extension near the end of the 2015 season.[12]

Following a Pac-12 championship and College Football Playoff appearance in 2016, Petersen's contract was extended through 2023 with an average salary of $4.875 million per year. This new contract makes Petersen the highest paid coach in the Pac-12.[13] On December 3, 2017, Washington was invited to participate in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl. It would be their first trip to the Fiesta Bowl.

Personal life

Petersen and his wife, Barbara, are the parents of two sons, Jack and Sam.[14] His father, Ron Petersen, a Seattle native who grew up watching University of Washington football games on television as a boy, still lives in Yuba City.[3][15]


Coaching tree

Assistant coaches under Chris Petersen who became NCAA head coaches:

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall ConferenceStanding Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Boise State Broncos (Western Athletic Conference) (2006–2010)
2006 Boise State 13–08–01stW Fiesta65
2007 Boise State 10–37–12ndL Hawaii
2008 Boise State 12–18–01stL Poinsettia1311
2009 Boise State 14–08–01stW Fiesta44
2010 Boise State 12–17–1T–1stW Maaco79
Boise State Broncos (Mountain West Conference) (2011–2013)
2011 Boise State 12–16–12ndW Maaco68
2012 Boise State 11–27–1T–1stW Maaco1418
2013 Boise State 8–46–22nd (Mountain) Hawaii*
Boise State: 92–1257–6* Petersen resigned before bowl game
Washington Huskies (Pac-12 Conference) (2014–present)
2014 Washington 8–64–53rd (North) L Cactus
2015 Washington 7–64–54th (North) W Heart of Dallas
2016 Washington 12–28–11st (North) L Peach44
2017 Washington 10–37–2T–1st (North) L Fiesta1516
2018 Washington 0–10–0 (North)
Washington: 37–1823–13
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


  1. Caple, Christian (April 11, 2017). "Chris Petersen's contract extension will pay him $34.125 million over next 7 years". Tacoma News Tribune. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  2. 1 2 Evans, Thayer (September 24, 2010). "Petersen, Boise a good match". Fox Sports. Archived from the original on October 18, 2013. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
  3. 1 2 Jude, Adam (December 7, 2013). "For Huskies football, the 'Coach Pete' era begins". Seattle Times. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  4. "UO loses another assistant to BSU". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). January 10, 2001. p. 1E.
  6. Chadd Cripe (2006-12-27). "Bond between coaches key to BSU's success". Idaho Statesman. Archived from the original on 2014-08-30. Retrieved 2007-01-01.
  7. 1 2 "Instant classic: Boise State's trick plays repel OU's miraculous rally". ESPN. 2007-01-02. Retrieved 2007-01-02.
  8. Watson, Graham (2010-01-01). "Boise State's Chris Petersen gets five-year contract extension". Retrieved 2010-01-01.
  9. Cripe, Chad (2010-04-22). "State Board unanimously approves Petersen's contract". Idaho Statesman. Archived from the original on 2012-07-16. Retrieved 2010-04-22.
  10. "Report: Chris Petersen gets new deal". January 4, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  11. "Washington hires Chris Petersen". ESPN. December 6, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  12. "UW coach Chris Petersen gets a two-year contract extension". Seattle Times. November 26, 2015. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  13. Washington extends Chris Petersen's contract, makes him highest-paid coach in Pac-12
  14. Thankful for love and faith in Boise, and the angel that pushed Archived 2012-09-11 at
  15. Joe Davidson. "Hometown Report: Petersen's loyalty to Boise State endures". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2011-01-11.
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