Former players, others react to Boise State football coach Chris Petersen’s departure

By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman

I’ll add reaction to coach Chris Petersen’s departure here throughout the day:

Brandyn Thompson

“I didn’t think Coach Pete would ever leave, but I can completely understand. Just from a business standpoint, how many times can you turn down almost triple your salary? I felt the same way when (former defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox) left. Obviously you want him to stay, but who are we to say someone shouldn’t go double their salary?”

On Petersen: “For me personally, he meant everything. He recruited me, he gave me my opportunity for a free education and to play the game I love. Me and my family, we owe that guy everything. As far as the community, I think it speaks for itself — the fanfare and the love everyone has for Coach Pete. Hopefully they wish him well on his next endeavor and not necessarily be bitter about it.

“… I know his big thing is accountability. And after you leave the program, you really see that. It’s been instilled in you so much you almost get frustrated when you don’t see it in other people.”

“Our history speaks for itself. We’ve lost a bunch of head coaches that have moved on to other areas and the program keeps on rolling.”

On Wilcox and former offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin as coaching candidates: “Man, you know I’m rooting for (Wilcox). I’m sure they’ll do their search and everything. If I had a vote, it’d definitely be for Coach Wilcox or Coach Harsin.”

Leon Rice, men’s basketball coach

“He was one of the reasons I came here — what he built here, what he and Barb have done in the community and the leadership they provide this community, all their charitable events they work with, all the great things they do, all the things he’s done to build this football program to a national level. I was never secretive about that. That was one of the things that attracted me to this program. … He’s such a great leader. That’s what I was always so impressed by.”

Kellen Moore, former player

“I said, ‘This is finally happening.’ It’s kind of crazy. He’d been there for a long time. I’m from Washington, so I’m excited for him. I think it’s scary, the potential there, with what they have and now with coach Pete. They have a lot of talent, new facilities, and now they have such a great leader with him.”

On coaching at Boise State: “Nice. I would love to, but I like the idea of trying to play football a little longer. Certainly, that’d be the top of the bucket list.”

“It’ll be interesting to see what happens, I’d love to still keep the connection. In-house, there are obviously guys, and some that are at different places that fit that. Names like (Bryan) Harsin, Dirk (Koetter) is one of those guys who got it going. … I think having an understanding of the culture, it’s a very unique culture. Someone who understands that, what Boise State is all about.”

“They just spent a bunch of money putting up those quotes from coach Pete in that facility, better find someone who likes those.”

Jared Zabransky, former player

“I didn’t know if that day would ever come. I thought he was going to be a lifer there.”

“I think he was undervalued and underpaid. I know people thought a lot of him, but if the dollars are on the table, you can typically keep somebody.”

On the next coach: “I hope they get someone kind of close — not necessarily a Boise State guy, but someone close to the situation — who can come in and instead of changing everything, come in and have a good feel for the resources at his disposal. A big, complete swap can take years.”

Zabransky was a junior quarterback when Petersen replaced Dan Hawkins. He said that transition was easy. “Everything was in place. That was the last piece of the puzzle.”

Jamar Taylor, former player

“It was kind of like, ‘Wow,’ especially because I’m always telling people, ‘No, he’s not leaving.’ At the same time, he did everything he could possibly do at Boise from a winning standpoint, recruiting, building the university, bringing people to Boise. I think he needed a new challenge, and he’s up to it.”

On the next coach: “Anybody who used to be around there, knew what Coach Pete and the program was about, would be good.”

Trevor Harman, senior punter

“That’s what I woke up to this morning, unfortunately for us. But we’re going to move on. Congratulations to him. I couldn’t have thought of a more well-deserving person for the job.”

“All of the four or five years that I’ve been here we’ve always heard rumors — Cal, Stanford, Washington. All the rumors and it’s finally happened.”

“Coach Pete was one of the main reasons why I came here. He’s a great person, a great coach, a great person all around. It’s sad, it really is.”

Winston Venable, former player

“I know Boise has been up-and-coming for year and years even before Pete got there. But they’re definitely losing a team leader — the leader — and it’s going to be a tough loss for Boise. Somebody’s going to step in there and they’re going to know they have some big shoes to fill and because of that they’ll give their best effort and bring whatever they have to the table and Boise will be all right. I think Coach Pete laid down a foundation for Boise and the Boise players. They’ll have that in their heart going through the rest of their four years. All the kids that the coaches recruited, they’ll have a little bit of Coach Petersen in them and they’ll be all right.”

On the idea of Justin Wilcox as a head coach: “Coach are always looking to challenge themselves. I understand Coach Petersen leaving to Washington. That might be something perfect for Coach Wilcox.”

“I love my Broncos, but if Wilcox stays over at Washington, watch out. They’ve got a great coaching staff already built back up. That’d be dangerous — Coach Pete and Coach Wilcox back at it together.”

Bob Kustra, Boise State president

“I know Bronco Nation joins me in thanking Chris Petersen for all he did to advance Boise State’s football program over the past 13 years. He is not only a great coach but a great person and an asset to the community. We were lucky to have him at Boise State and Washington is lucky to get him. We wish Chris and (wife) Barbara the very best.

“Boise State fans, players and students know this program was built one brick at a time, with a succession of coaches who moved us to the next level. Our program has advanced steadily with an amazing amount of success through all those years, and we will be looking forward, not backward, making sure that we continue that success. Bronco Nation deserves no less.”

Mark Coyle, Boise State athletic director

“We wish Chris Petersen and his family all the best in their future endeavors. Chris is an outstanding coach and role model, and we know he’ll be successful at Washington. We have started a national search for our next head football coach at Boise State and will work tirelessly to find the perfect fit to continue the ascension of Bronco football.”

Dave Bieter, Boise Mayor

“I speak for all of Boise in wishing Coach Petersen and his family the best of luck on their new adventure. What is remarkable about Coach Pete’s career is not simply the tremendous achievements his Broncos accomplished on the field, it is the dignity, the decency, and the class that he demonstrated in everything he did. He has been Boise’s greatest ambassador. Coach Pete, wherever your spectacular career takes you, please know that you will always be part of the Boise family.”

Gov. Butch Otter

“Congratulations and good luck to Coach Pete on his new challenge! He’s brought great pride to BSU and Idaho, and he’ll be sorely missed.”


Media reports and reaction:

Seattle Times news
Seattle Times says UW job always intrigued Petersen
Seattle Times column
Sports Illustrated
Huskies website

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Chadd Cripe has spent the past 12 years as the Boise State football beat writer. You can follow him on Twitter @IDS_BroncoBeat.

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